Hong Kong’s police force arrested 21 Uber drivers on Tuesday for illegal car-hiring as part of a general clamp-down again Uber operations in the Asian metropolis.
The local police said they began an undercover operation for Uber in May before arresting 20 men and one woman for illegally driving a car for hire and driving without third-party risk insurance, Reuters reports.
“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 would like to say to the operator of the mobile phone application, as a responsible organization, you need to ensure cars for hire are equipped with a permit as required by Hong Kong laws. This is a basic responsibility to passengers and (shows) respect for Hong Kong laws,” Lau added.
An Uber spokesman said that the company was “extremely disappointed” by this police action. “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,” the spokesman said.
Uber also said that it has a ridesharing insurance policy of up to HK$100 million per trip for riders and third-parties, complying this way with Hong Kong’s insurance regulations.
“Ridesharing should not be a crime. Hong Kong is an international city known for its embrace of global economic trends and new technologies, but current transportation regulations have failed to keep up with innovation,” Uber said in a statement.
A court last March found five Uber drivers guilty and fined them with $1,287 each, along with revoking their driving licenses for a year, but the punishment was suspended upon the drivers’ appeal. Back then Uber said that it would help these drivers to appeal their court case.