Brief: Uber slams Hong Kong crackdown as 21 drivers arrested
- Hong Kong police today arrested 21 Uber drivers after a three-week sting operation. The 20 men and one woman were arrested on suspicion of illegally driving a car for hire, reports Reuters.
- “I would like to stress that our law enforcement action is ongoing and we do not rule out further arrests,” said Lau Tat-fai, a chief inspector of police in the Kowloon West district.
- “We stand together with the twenty-one driver partners and their families, and will continue to provide assistance, including legal support, during this difficult time,” stated an Uber spokesperson.
- “Ridesharing should not be a crime,” said the US-based startup in a statement.
Why it matters:
- Hong Kong has not yet framed ride-hailing regulations, making Uber’s private car services flat-out illegal.
- The clampdown marks an escalation of last year’s arrests of two Uber drivers in Hong Kong, who were fined and banned from driving for 12 months after pleading guilty. In 2015, police raided Uber’s Hong Kong office and took away materials as evidence.
- The news comes a month after Uber returned to Taiwan after being forced to suspend all car-hailing services. However, upon its revival, Uber had to partner with fleet companies, abandoning its army of private car drivers.
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