Taxi council slams 'cowardly' attack

The head of the NSW Taxi Council has condemned the knifepoint carjacking of a Wollongong taxi driver as a "cowardly attack".

At about 3.30am on Friday, the 42-year-old driver picked up a man from the eastern side of Wollongong train station.

He asked to be driven to Kiama and, once there, asked to be dropped at the lighthouse.

The passenger then allegedly threatened the driver with a small knife, demanding cash, before forcing him from the vehicle and stealing the taxi.

Lake Illawarra police Inspector Paul Allman said investigations found the man lost control of the vehicle on Swamp Road in Jamberoo, where it was found abandoned.

Police have examined the vehicle for fingerprints and DNA and are reviewing CCTV footage.

NSW Taxi Council chief executive Roy Wakelin-King said the driver was shaken, but not physically harmed.

He said safety had improved in the taxi industry as they worked with the government and police to prevent violent incidents.

"Safety has improved in the taxi industry over the years thanks to a range of initiatives.

"This includes cameras, alarm systems and a range of other measures."

"However, one assault like this is one too many, so we keep working to ensure that we improve the safety for our drivers."

Mr Wakelin-King said taxi drivers were trained in how to deal with violent or aggressive passengers, including how to de-escalate the situation by remaining calm and ensuring they kept themselves safe.

Wollongong Radio Cabs are assisting police with their investigation.

The alleged offender is described as about 170 centimetres tall, in his mid to late 30s, of solid build, with a possible scar on his right leg and was wearing shorts and a black windcheater.

Anyone with information about the incident should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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