Police have opened an enquiry after a Paris taxi driver locked two tourists in his car and forced them to pay almost £200 for a trip that normally costs less than £50.
The start of their ordeal is captured in a disturbing video that has been posted on YouTube by victim Chakrid Thanhachartyothin, a Thai national who was travelling with his wife.
Like many visitors to the French capital, Mr Thanhachartyothin had checked the price of a standard taxi from Charles de Gaulle airport to the city centre, and found it was as low as £43.
The driver shows the tourists his phone which has logged 45km and a journey price of €247
Mr Chanhachartyothin and his wife (right) were travelling from Charles de Gaulle airport to the city centre and expected the drive to cost less than £50
But the unidentified driver, who claimed to be licensed, first said he wanted the euro equivalent of £216 following a 11.55am pickup last Thursday.
Mr Chanhachartyothin said: ‘When the taxi arrived at our hotel, the driver picked up a meter and it showed a total of €240 [£209]
‘We were shocked, because when we checked online, taxis the city were between 50 and 70 euros maximum. They cheated. I didn’t pay up easily, but the driver was angry and would not let us out.
‘We said we would pay, and then go to the police station, but the driver stayed on the phone. He was speaking to his gang, and there was a real threat.’
The driver can be heard in the video telling the tourists that prices are ‘by the metre’ and that the car isn’t his, it is ‘the companies.’
When they question the price the man holds up his phone and says ‘It’s by metre, look 45km’ and points to the distance on his screen.
The tourists claimed that the driver also constantly shouted ‘Pay me, pay me!’ during the hour-long journey.
The man shows the couple his taxi license and insists that his company sets the prices
The Thanhachartyothins reported the incident to the police who have opened an investigation
As a heated argument carries on, he also resorts to shouting ‘You don’t pay me, no problem’ but still refused to allow the couple to get out.
In the end Mr Thanhachartyothin, who was growing increasingly scared and frustrated, handed over €200 [£175] and the couple were allowed out.
They have since made a complaint, and Paris police have opened an investigation for ‘illegal taxiing’.
The suspect – who is clearly identifiable in the video – showed what he claimed to be official documents, but all local taxi firms say they know nothing about him.
Mr Chanhachartyothin now hopes that the YouTube video will help to catch the driver.
Rogue taxi drivers are a constant menace at all of the Paris airports, and at other travel hubs including the Eurostar station at Gare du Nord.
The British are the biggest visitor group to Paris – the most popular tourists destination in the world – and they are regularly targeted by fraudsters.