Cabbie accused of extorting tip from Bellaire woman

June 16, 2010 10:49:03 AM PDT
A cab driver has been accused of locking a tourist in his cab and demanding a 10 percent tip for an airport fare. The victim, a 57-year-old woman from Bellaire, Texas, took a taxi Friday from a downtown New Orleans hotel to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said.

According to The Times-Picayune, the woman told deputies that she confirmed before the ride that a credit card would be accepted for the standard $33 fare. But when she arrived, the driver told her he also would be adding a 10 percent tip, according to an investigative report.

The driver refused her demand to unlock the doors and get her baggage, deputies said. After a 30-minute argument, with the heat rising inside the cab, the woman said she called authorities on her cell phone. A deputy found her crying hysterically, shaking and sweating.

According to the deputy's report, Kahn initially said that the 10 percent tip was actually to cover the credit card transaction fee. But the deputy later confirmed that such fees are not charged to passengers, and drivers are responsible for their own fees, the report said.

The sheriff's office said Sohail Kahn, 37, of Kenner, was booked with extortion and false imprisonment and his cab permit was seized by the New Orleans taxi regulators.

Kahn could not be reached for comment Wednesday by The Associated Press because he has no listed phone number.


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