Police raid Uber offices in Hong Kong

Published: August 11, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Callum Micucci

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Following the arrests of five drivers, police have raided the Hong Kong offices of the popular ridesharing company Uber.

According to an article by the Financial Times, drivers accepted fares from undercover officers, who then arrested the drivers for driving without the required permits and insurance.

Following the drivers’ arrests, police then raided the Hong Kong offices, seizing two luxury saloons and three people carriers.

In a statement on Tuesday, Uber Hong Kong addressed the issue.

“Uber ensures that all rides are covered by insurance and all drivers on the platform undergo an extensive background check,” the statement reads.

“We stand by our driver-partners 100 per cent and welcome the opportunity to work closely with the authorities towards updated regulations that put the safety and interests of riders and drivers first.”

The recent crackdown is just the latest roadblock in the company’s attempt to penetrate the Chinese market.

According to the Financial Times article, police in Guangzhou launched a nighttime raid on an Uber office, “seizing computers and phones and accusing the company of running an ‘illegal car business.’”

The battle in China is just another chapter in Uber’s worldwide battle to gain acceptance in cities where taxis have operated for decades.

Toronto has seen its fair share of Uber troubles: in April, Toronto police charged 11 UberX drivers for operating a taxi without a license and commercial insurance.

In July, a city councillor who received campaign donations from the taxi industry issued a dire warning to Uber drivers and passengers, saying they’d be fined if caught using the service.

“Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, a person who arranges for a ride in an unlicensed taxi [can be fined between] $300 and $20,000,” councillor Jim Karygiannis said in a press conference at city hall.

Earlier that month, Justice Sean Dunphy of the Ontario Superior Court rejected the City of Toronto’s request for an injunction to stop Uber from operating in the city, siding with Uber in its argument that Uber is a technology firm, not a taxi brokerage.

Uber also faced opposition recently in Mexico city, where drivers were attacked outside the city’s airport with clubs and stones.

At the time, Uber issued a statement condemning the attack in Mexico.

"What happened is a very grave attack on everyone's freedom and right to make a living in a dignified manner. Incidents like this are completely unacceptable, and we trust that authorities will act so that justice is done."