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A Hong Kong Taxi driver, Harbour Plaza Hotel, Cathay Pacific and Qantas

A Hong Kong Taxi driver, Harbour Plaza Hotel, Cathay Pacific and Qantas

Apr 26th, 2004, 04:56 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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A Hong Kong Taxi driver, Harbour Plaza Hotel, Cathay Pacific and Qantas

A couple of weeks ago we stayed for 2 nights at Harbor Plaza hotel on Kowloon side of Hong Kong en-route to Saigon. Took a taxi from the hotel to Kowloon airport train station and 2 seconds after we got out of taxi realised had a left a bag of vital medication in taxi. Horror! The Cathay girl at the station was fantastic - she didn't think I'd be able to replace the medication in Vietnam but told us where to find a doctor at Hong Kong airport. I'd left the prescriptions at my pharmacy in Australia where it was Easter holidays so would have had no chance of getting hold of either doctor or chemist for faxing duplicates. Miraculously found medical centre in that huge airport and doctor was there! No waiting - he gave me a quick check-up and replaced all lost medications on the spot. Just caught the plane by the skin of our teeth - as we were boarding a Cathay employee told us that the taxi driver had found the bag and returned it to our hotel!! The hotel then sent it to their desk at the airport for us to pick up on our return from Vietnam. When we returned our flight from Hanoi was delayed which only gave us only a few minutes to connect to Brisbane and there wasn't time to collect the bag from the hotel desk so Cathay promised to have it on the next flight. When we finally reached Cairns there was a Qantas employee waiting for us at the baggage collection to apologise for the missing bag! The next morning Qantas delivered it to our door - everything intact and no charge!
pat_woolford is offline  
Apr 26th, 2004, 05:33 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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In a move of colossal stupidity which I can only blame on jetlag, I recently first put all my (non-money) valuables in one bag, and then left it in a Hong Kong taxi: PowerBook, iPod, MD recorder, Palm Pilot, digital camera.

First rule in Hong Kong an mainland China (certainly in big cities like Beijing) is always to get a receipt. This will identify the taxi. Unfortunately in HK the database doesn't quite keep up with all the transfers of ownership or movements of drivers. In this case they did call the driver's home number, but he wasn't in, and he was no longer affiliated with the taxi company listed in the database.

They recommended a commercial service which simultaneously pages all the radio taxis in Hong Kong. This cost money (I've forgotten how much, but a fraction of the value of what I'd lost), and I had to go to the nearest branch of the HSBC to deposit this sum in an account number I was given, then call the service back.

The police said that the chances of getting the bag back was at best 50-50. An hour later they received a call to say that the driver was on his way, but coming from the eastern end of Hong Kong Island, so it took about another 30 minutes for him to show up, and he was very apologetic that he hadn't come before. The police had asked if I would pay the meter fare for his run to the station, and I said of course I would. But he hadn't even started the meter, and was reluctant (in a Chinese way) to take a tip, which I eventually managed to persuade him to accept.

When I told someone else how impressed I was with this (although you can get the same service for free in Beijing--yes, I'm a specialist in abandoning things in taxis) one cynic said that lost property comes back because the driver gets a share of the fee paid to the broadcasting company. I have no authority for the truth of this, however, and I must admit I prefer to think otherwise.

Peter N-H
http://members.shaw.ca/pnhpublic/China.html
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