Shootings distress president of TheCab
A high-tech alert system did not help the second driver shot in a month
The second shooting this month of one of his taxicab drivers is an "emotional shock" for everyone in the company, says TheCab President Howard Higa.
"I can't have any more of this," the distraught company owner said yesterday. "It's very frustrating."
Taxi driver Yu Kyo Kim, 52, was shot and critically wounded at 9:11 p.m. Friday outside the Pearlridge branch of First Hawaiian Bank at 98-1071 Moanalua Road. The suspect was still at large.
Another driver for TheCab, Manh The Nguyen, was shot and killed July 6 after transporting his alleged killer, Adam Koon Wai Mau-Goffredo, to Round Top. Mau-Goffredo, 23, apparently tried to rob him at gunpoint, police said.
Kim was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in "extremely critical" condition with an apparent gunshot wound to the neck, said Bryan Cheplic, Emergency Services Department spokesman.
"The good news is he is awake now in stable condition," Higa said yesterday. Higa said he was at the hospital until midnight Friday and saw Kim again yesterday. His wife, son and daughter, and friends were at his bedside, Higa said.
Kim's 2006 Honda van was stolen and recovered by police in Kailua, Higa said.
Higa said Kim apparently was called to Aikahi Housing to pick up a client. "We could see him on the GPS (global positioning system) going down the highway to Pearlridge, where the incident happened."
Police returned to the shooting scene yesterday to canvass the area because they might have missed some evidence in the dark Friday night, said Lt. Eric Yiu, in the Honolulu Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division.
Kim's family told him at the hospital that Kim still had his wallet, Higa said. "It was kind of a strange holdup. I guess the guy wanted the car. He went almost back to where he was picked up."
He said all of the company's 600 taxicabs have emergency buttons and a satellite-based global positioning system.
Neither Kim nor Nguyen pressed the emergency button, he said, which alerts the company's central dispatch center in Honolulu.
"His car number turns red on our screen, and we can identify where he's at," Higa said. "Our dispatcher can zoom in on him and know within 10 feet where he's at and where he's heading. We can know the driver is in a stress situation and lead police."
After the fatal shooting of Nguyen, Higa said emergency procedures were reviewed with the company and a message sent to drivers "insisting that they do not hesitate to use that emergency program that we have."
Even with a high-tech emergency system, Higa said, "There is no safety factor in anything. Banks get ripped off.
"All drivers, not just cabdrivers, have to be careful."
Taxi drivers at other companies also are concerned for their safety.
After hearing of the second shooting, Richard Kim, 47, part-time driver for Charley's Taxi and Tours, said, "I just made up my mind to have life insurance now."