According to Vietnamese news website Tuoi Tre News, on 28 October, the Singaporean passengers - a man and a woman - had taken the cab back to Hanoi's National Conference Centre after dinner at a popular restaurant for tourists.

The duo had travelled to Hanoi for the 80th Interpol general Assembly which was attended by about 1,200 international delegates.

The taxi driver had tried to make the passengers pay a whopping $360 for a 10km ride which should have cost only about $10. An argument ensued between him and the two passengers, resulting in one of them leaving an iPhone 4 in the cab. It has not been recovered.

Before he was arrested, the driver had fled to the southern province of Dak Nong, about 1,000km from Hanoi to evade capture.

Now under investigation, the driver who is registered with taxi company Phu Gia could be charged with "cheating to appropriate private property" which is a criminal offence in Vietnam.

In addition, the Hanoi Transportation Association is also investigating the taxi company.

Public transport officials in Vietnam also noted an increase in the number of cases involving taxi drivers, especially those unlicensed, overcharging foreigners.

In May this year, a Malaysian reporter was forced to pay $240 for a ride that should have cost $9.

She had taken an unlicensed taxi with a logo similar to that of one of Hanoi's biggest cab firms and was made to walk to the airport after refusing to pay the initial $500 demanded by the driver.

Agence France Presse - November 9, 2011