Video shows Taiwanese bus driver sniff migrant workers for perfume

Bus driver in Taichung fined for making migrant workers pass 'smell criteria' before allowing them onboard

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Driver smelling passengers. (YouTube, Jaye TV taiwan screenshot)

Driver smelling passengers. (YouTube, Jaye TV taiwan screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A bus company in Taichung has been fined after a video surfaced showing one of its drivers refusing migrant worker passengers if they did not pass his sniff test.

On Friday (July 3), a video surfaced on YouTube warning migrant workers to beware of the driver of Bus #97 in Taichung's Dajia District. The creators of the video alleged that the driver frequently discriminates against migrant workers who do not pass his "smelling criteria" for perfume.

In the video, titled "Beware of Dajia Bus #97," three migrant workers can be seen standing at the Youshi-You 9th Intersection bus stop at Yu Shi Industrial Park when the bus comes to a halt and the driver, surnamed Chao (趙), steps out. With his face mask lowered, he proceeds to smell each man one at a time to determine whether they are wearing perfume.

The first and third passengers pass the sniff test, but the second man is rejected. The hapless worker is then left with no choice but to walk to his destination.

Next, the video shows that in the case of Taiwanese passengers, "no smelling is required," and they are allowed to board without incident. The video closes by warning migrant workers not to get too close to the driver because "he can smell you and get really mad. He will force you to leave the bus."

The man holding the camera can be heard saying in English, "I didn't do anything," to which the bus driver responds in Mandarin: "You sprayed too much perfume. Get off! Bastard!"

Huang Yu-yao (黃淯耀), manager of Southeast Bus was cited by CNA as saying that after receiving a complaint from foreign workers via a broker, they carried out an investigation. The driver claims he is allergic to perfume, which causes him to break out in hives on his neck, chest, and back.

However, Huang said that it is against company regulations to refuse passengers and curse them. He said that Chao has been issued a demerit for his actions.

Huang said that Chao has been on duty for two months and that if he has allergies, he should have reported them to the company. He said that Chao is still driving the same route and has been asked to wear a mask and open the driver's side window.

If he continues to suffer from allergies, he will be asked to adjust his route, said Huang. Chen Wen-cheng (陳文政), deputy chief of the city's Public Transportation and Rapid Transit System Office, told the news agency that the company was fined NT$5,000 (US$169) because the bus driver blatantly refused passengers, which is a violation of the contract between the company and the city.

Chen added that footage from the front and rear surveillance cameras on the bus will also be reviewed to investigate whether any other violations were committed and additional penalties should be imposed.