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Illegal Cabbie Incident Highlights Airport Hustling Of Unsuspecting Victims

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New concerns about illegal cabbies have popped up following a Tuesday night incident involving a group of a tourists from Panama.

CBS 2 sent an employee into Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy Airport Wednesday with a small camera. Seasoned travelers said they are hustled by illegal livery drivers quite frequently.

"You always see them waiting for people to come out -- people who don't speak English that they can con," Jeannie Stiles said.

Tuesday night, 37-year-old livery driver Bhupinder Singh offered a family a ride, which was illegal. Not knowing, they got in.

Right after the car pulled away, Port Authority officers in an unmarked car tried to pull it over.

Police had been watching Singh, who had been busted five times at JFK. When police tried to stop him, Singh allegedly trapped the family in the car. With police in pursuit, 17-year-old Aldo Sosa, who was in the front seat, grabbed the steering wheel and the car eventually crashed into a guard rail.

Once the car crashed, Singh was arrested. However, the question remains: Why isn't there more enforcement against such drivers?

"You'd need a whole army, at this point, to respond to this issue," Port Authority spokesman Al Della Fave told CBS 2's John Slattery.

The Port Authority says enforcement must be undercover, away from uniformed cops

"The difficulty with enforcement is you have to observe it, you have to hear him solicit the individuals," Fave said.

The Port Authority tries to warn travelers with signs and announcements, but there's so much money to be made -- two to three times the normal fare -- that hustlers simply can't resist.

Last year, at JFK alone, there were 402 arrests for similar hustling.

Have you ever been hustled by an illegal cabbie?  Tell us in the comments section below...

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