On Tuesday, police in Hong Kong arrested 21 drivers from Uber for illegal car-hiring in a crackdown against operations of Uber Technologies in one of Asia’s top financial cities.
The Tuesday arrests are just the latest problems facing the tech company based in San Francisco, which this past March said it would help five Uber drivers who were convicted to appeal their cases in Hong Kong.
Police said they started their undercover operation during May and Tuesday arrested 20 male drivers and 1 female driver for illegally driving their car for hire and not having the required third-party risk insurance.
A police spokesperson in Hong Kong said the action by law enforcement continued and further arrests might take place.
The spokesperson added that the police would like to let the mobile phone car app know that vehicles need to be insured when they are used for hire with a permit.
The police said that was just a basic responsibility to the passengers of the vehicles and shows respect for the laws of Hong Kong.
The police spokesperson said that those who instigate or assist drivers may also bear legal responsibility. A spokesperson for Uber said the ride-hailing company was very disappointed by the action taken by Hong Kong’s police department.
The spokesperson from Uber said the company stood together with its 21 driver partners and families and would continue providing assistance, including necessary legal support during their current difficult time.
Uber said a ride-hailing insurance policy was in place of HK$100 million for each trip for third-parties and riders, which is in compliance with local laws that include insurance regulations in Hong Kong.
Ride hailing should not be considered a crime and Hong Kong is considered an international city that is known for embracing global economic trends as well as new technologies. However, the current regulations related to transportation failed to stay abreast with innovation, said Uber through an emailed statement.
Uber announced that it was committed to cooperating with authorities in Hong Kong especially with the new incoming administration, as a means of resolving this matter.
In March, a court found five drivers with Uber were guilty and each was fined HK$10,000 equal to $1,288. It revoked their licenses as well for one year but the punishment was later suspended upon an appeal by the drivers’.
Uber started a fierce campaign of publicity following that verdict, posting ads on the front page of newspapers and giving plane tickets out to passengers.