Crime

Police probe criminal gangs using taxis to rob passengers

Enanga explains that unsuspecting passengers board the taxis after seeing other occupants in the taxi yet these are criminals disguised as fellow passengers.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Uganda Police Force is currently investigating a gang of criminals who have made it a habit to rob people in taxi disguising as conductors, drivers and some as fellow passengers.

While addressing the media on Monday at Police Headquarters at Naguru in Kampala, forces spokesperson CP Fred Enanga said these gangs have predominantly been identified along the Northen Bypass, several parts of the city and the Kampala Metropolitan area.

“We continue to receive complaints where criminals in conspiracy with rogue taxi drivers and conductors, rob innocent passengers who board taxi of their valuables like cash, mobile phones, jewellery, ATM cards. The taxis gangs, have been identified along sections that feed into the Kampala Northern bypass, from Busega to Namboole.

Enanga explains that unsuspecting passengers board the taxis after seeing other occupants in the taxi yet these are criminals disguised as fellow passengers adding that in due course, the victims are attacked and force to surrender their cash, mobile phones, ATM cards, reveal their pin code numbers and other valuables.

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“The danger with this criminal behaviour is that after robbing the victim, they push, throw or bundle them out of the moving taxi, onto the tarmac or side of the road. We do strongly condemn these acts of impunity by taxi gangs,” he added.

Enanga assured that joint task teams from Kampala Metropolitan Police, are already gathering intelligence and good clues about these criminals, taxi gangs, that are hiring female accomplices to disguise as passengers and also using fake number plates that they remove after every mission.

The police mouthpiece further gave safety tips to passengers especially women on what they should follow when they plan their travel using taxi.

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  1. Always check the number plates if they are well fixed and appear genuine. Ensure you board your taxis from a gazetted stage.”
  2. Also observe if the driver has a genuine badge, which is well displayed with names and stage.
  3. Avoid seeing in the back seat. At least get a seat where you are visible near the door or window. For instance, sitting in the middle puts you in danger, since you can not cry for help.
  4. Keep expensive items hidden in your bag, especially smart phone. Then keep your purse so close to you, preferably between your feet or chest.
  5. Never take a taxi alone, since it may be hard to defend your self from the taxi gang already inside the taxi. At least board from a gazetted stage with other passengers.
  6. Always have emergency numbers to call especially if the taxi is heading in the wrong direction.
  7. Be courageous and make an alarm calling for help at the window.
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