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Why a Hong Kong taxi driver watching porn is a ride too far

I thought I’d seen it all from the city’s cabbies until about 6pm one recent Friday, when I caught a driver watching porn on his phone while the vehicle idled at a red light on the Island Eastern Corridor expressway, just past Shau Kei Wan. Breaking his gaze, I asked if he wouldn’t mind waiting until he got home. I can’t be sure if it was the reflection of the lights but his face appeared to change to red, too.

Did you get a photo of it, my editor asked. I’m not sure what would have been more awkward – catching him in the act of watching porn or being caught photographing him doing it.

When I say, “I thought I’d seen it all,” I mean drivers checking the stock market, watching television and making calls on multiple telephones that line the dashboard. I have (haven’t we all?) had cabbies pull up only to zoom off when they decide my destination was not to their liking. One memorable cabbie even found my ride the ideal time for removing a few rogue whiskers.

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There have been snotty tissues in door pockets (granted, the tissue issue might not have been the driver’s own) and I’ve spotted containers of suspicious looking yellow fluid; although I’m pleased to say I have never experienced any­thing to match the report in Apple Daily in September: a taxi driver filmed masturbating while waiting at traffic lights in Wan Chai – with a female passenger in the back seat. Is “Let’s find the grossest thing to do while waiting for the lights to change” a new phenomenon sweeping the city?

I have a pretty high tolerance for cabbie behaviour, as long as they stay focused enough on the road to not crash. I’m not so bothered by the fast-slow-fast-slow motion, if that’s what it takes to stay awake towards the end of a double shift. I can even handle the cheeky “I’m taking a longer route” routine – hey, they are just trying to make a buck in a competi­tive world where Uber’s in the driving seat.

But watching porn while driving was a ride too far.