By Nicole Froio, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A taxi driver who dragged a passenger to avoid giving R$4 in change will be facing charges for assault. Rosemberg Amaro da Silva allegedly denied his clients change and then tried to drive off, dragging a Colombian tourist who had just arrived in Rio with him as he drove away.

Sandra Catalina Roncances, a tourist from Colombia, was dragged by a taxi driver in Rio, image recreation.
Sandra Catalina Roncances, a tourist from Colombia, was dragged by a taxi driver in Rio, image recreation.

Da Silva’s service was not a pleasant affair from the very beginning as it started with a heated argument about pricing. He picked up Sandra Catalina Roncances, her parents and her sister at the Santos Dumont Airport, where they asked him to turn on the taxi meter, which he only agree to do after much persistence from his clients.

Later, when dropping off the family at their hotel in Glória, he refused to give her the R$4 change when Roncances demanded her money back. When trying to drive away, he dragged her for a few meters, hurting her chest, hands, face and legs.

After Roncances finally let go of the taxi, Da Silva allegedly fled the scene, taking no responsibility for the tourist he just hurt.

Roncances identified Da Silva, but he has told reporters he never argued with the family about the taxi meter and that Roncances simply lost balance and wasn’t dragged by him at all.

This was the family’s first trip to Rio, and they say they will never come back. “I’m too scared and too afraid to take taxi or other transportation in Rio,” Roncances told O Globo.

The incident happened a week after the fixed prices of taxis stationed at Santos Dumont Airport were significantly lowered by Rio’s Board of Transport. Secretary Carlos Roberto Osório implemented the measure one day after he took office, and he plans to do the same for other airports in Rio, to make sure tourists are not being fooled when it comes to taxi prices.

Read more (in Portuguese)

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.


  1. I am a recident of Brazil and have learnt to look out for tourist traps. I recently noticed that the taxi driver at the Rio international airport had switched the taxi meter to tariff 2 in stead of 1 – costing considerably more money. When I told him he said the bright sun shine had made the switching of tariffs. What a joke! Some taxi drivers believe all foreign passengers are idiots.

  2. I live in the United States of America and have visited Brazil many times. Although I realize everyone has different experiences when visiting other countries, I felt I had to say something. I personally have never had a problem with the taxi service in Rio de Janeiro or in any other city in Brazil. Of course there are always precautions to be taken especially if alone on the beach at night (or so I have heard). I have been visiting Brazil for the last 10 years and the people are always polite, caring and wonderful. The men are courteous and the women are some of the most kind, beautiful and knowledgeable in the world. Oh, and I like to give tips. Obrigado Brazil! I wish you could all be my friends on Facebook.
    Michael Hamilton

  3. “The bright sun shine” excuse was used by a Portuguese taxi driver I picked at Lisbon International somewhere in the 90s…

    Once, arriving in Rio, I was asked “which way” I would prefer the driver to take, after suggesting an absurd route (and much more expensive as well)!

    There was this guy in São Paulo who left me somewhere in the middle of the journey allegedly because was “feeling unwell” and apologized explaining he should not had taken me. I was left with my luggage and whilst looking for the next cab I realized how compromised my safety was.

    Tutti mafiosi.

  4. A colombiana does not want to go to Brasil because its too dangerous…..hmmmmm…. maybe a little too much aguardiente!!!

  5. I also love Brazil and travel there often. Its a lovely country with wonderful people. One thing that drives me nuts though is running into idiots like the taxi driver described here. Or others that think the can take advantage of you. I’m from New York City and am very streetwise, so I’ve seen a lot of scams in my day. I wonder do these people not know that a lot of people that arrive in RIo are indeed streetwise and can recognize a scam a mile away? I too have had a yellow taxi driver try to overcharge us for a short ride from Ipanema to Jardim around the Lagoa in Rio. They are not all bad and they do not all practice taking advantage of tourists, but generally, I leave the yellow taxis alone and take only the radio cabs like Cootramo.

  6. Many times I have had taxi drivers not giving me my change or get angry at me because not making enough money because of a short trip. When I was coming back from a trip and needed a taxi from thr airport they tried to charge me $R20,00 just to the Ferryboat station which was close. Or they pretend to get lost to charge more money.


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