Queensland Indian-origin cabbies cry racism after colleague charged with kidnapping

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Sydney, Mar. 29 (ANI): Indian-origin cab drivers in the Australia's Gold Coast city have threatened to go on a strike after police charged an Indian cabbie with kidnapping of five female passengers who disputed a fare.

It was alleged that the 24-year-old driver, who has not been named, picked up five young women from Southport and took them to Surfers Paradise.

"When they reached their destination, the driver asked for payment but the passengers have disputed the amount," News.com.au quoted a police spokeswoman, as saying.

"It's alleged the driver then locked the doors of the taxi and drove the passengers erratically around Surfers Paradise," he added.

The driver, who has been suspended by Gold Coast Cabs, is set to appear at Southport Magistrates Court on April 7.

However, his Indian colleagues say the driver is a victim of racial discrimination by his passengers, police and the taxi company.

"The police should not have charged the driver. It is impossible to lock someone in a cab so I don't know how it is kidnapping," Gurwinder Singh said.

"Indian drivers are being abused by passengers all the time. Our skin is brown but we are still human," he added.

Gold Coast Cabs CEO Martin O'Riordan confirmed that there was unrest among his Indian drivers, and they have threatened strike action.

"There is some feeling that they don't know what the charges are based on. The Indian drivers believe the police don't listen to them as effectively as other people in the community because of their racial background," he said.

"We have explained to them that we have a standing-down policy for any driver charged with a criminal offence, and that it is applied evenly to both native and overseas drivers," he added. (ANI)

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