Welp. This isn’t going to make it any easier to get home from your Halloween party this weekend.
In another harsh move against ride-hailing services in Hong Kong, 21 Uber drivers were yesterday charged with driving private cars without a car hire permit.
The defendants – comprising 20 males and one female aged between 22 and 60 – were arrested in April and May as part of an undercover police operation.
Ming Pao reported that during the proceedings, defense lawyers argued that there is a huge demand for car hailing services in Hong Kong and around the world.
Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court approved the defense’s application for bail, and adjourned the case until Dec. 14.
Driving a car for hire without a permit can land you a HK$5,000 fine and three months in prison on the first conviction, and a HK$10,000 fine and six months in jail on a subsequent conviction.
In March, five Uber drivers were convicted and fined HK$10,000 each of driving without a permit and without third-party insurance. The court also revoked their driving licenses for a year, but that punishment was suspended upon the drivers’ appeal.
Personally, we’re looking forward to more undercover police operations that involve holding taxi drivers accountable for breaking the law by refusing fares.