The Strategist

21 Uber drivers are arrested in Hong Kong

05/23/2017 - 13:42

On Tuesday, the Hong Kong police detained 21 Uber drivers. All of them were arrested for providing taxi services without an appropriate license or third-party insurance. Uber has already stated that it will provide legal assistance to drivers, and that the company has an existing insurance agreement with AIG Insurance.

Eckhard Pecher
Eckhard Pecher
Uber keeps meeting opposition of authorities in different parts of the world. This time, the company faced problems in Hong Kong. The local police have arrested 21 drivers of the American mobile taxi service. All of them were detained during a special operation to identify illegal provision of taxi services. In particular, detained drivers provided commercial services without having a special license or third-party liability insurance, as required by local legislation.

A representative of the Hong Kong Police Department said that the number of arrests could increase, as the operation of law enforcement agencies has not been completed yet. "We would like to emphasize that the mobile application’s operator, as the responsible organization, must make sure that its rental cars have an appropriate authorization, as required by Hong Kong legislation. This is the basic principle of responsibility to passengers and demonstration of compliance with the Hong Kong laws", told the representative. He added that those who helped or encouraged drivers to engage in illegal activities could also be brought to justice.

Uber, in its issued statement, expressed "extreme disappointment" with the Hong Kong police’s actions, referring, as always in such cases, to the fact that the country's legislation is morally obsolete and should not prohibit activity of mobile taxi services. Separately, the company noted that it has a valid insurance agreement with AIG Insurance, which fully complies with the local laws.

This is not the first wave of detentions of Uber drivers in Hong Kong. In March, the local police detained five drivers of the company, each of whom was fined 10,000 Hong Kong dollars (approximately $ 1,300) and deprived of their driving license for 12 months. In general, the company has problems with the law and authorities almost all over the world - its services are partially or completely banned in France, Germany, Denmark, Australia, Italy and Spain.

Recall that the general counsel of the European Court Maciej Špunar earlier recommended the court to regulate activities of Uber Technologies in Europe according to the rules provided for transport companies. "The service offered by Uber cannot be referred to "information society services ". Thus, Uber can be required to obtain all necessary licenses and permits provided for by national laws, "the lawyer said in a statement (quoted by The Wall Street Journal).

Uber imposes conditions on drivers, tells them where to pick up a passenger, and determines a trip’s price, so the company cannot be considered just a mediator between drivers and users of its application, believes Špunar. "The service of communication between drivers and passengers is secondary", writes the Financial Times, referring to the court document in relation to the service of delivering passengers to their destination.


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