While the city’s Type-A, over-privileged, impatient residents complained about yesterday’s arrests of Uber drivers and debated whether that sounded the death knell for the company’s services in Hong Kong, InvestHK quietly erased online evidence that it once gushed about the car-hailing app.
In May, InvestHK, a government department that aims to “attract and retain foreign direct investment”, published a piece proudly talking about the company’s decision to launch in Hong Kong.
Sam Gellman, Uber’s Asia expansion lead, happily provided pro-Hong Kong quotes for the article: “Hong Kong is an incredible city, combining global commerce and local culture, large industry and startup entrepreneurship and innovation. It makes a fantastic regional headquarters for us as expand into the Greater China area.”
InvestHK continued to boast that it had provided Uber with “significant support, including information on public transportation and advice on market entry strategy prior to its launch.
Uber is now probably pretty pissed, and InvestHK likely a widdle bit embarrassed, as yesterday the Hong Kong police arrested five Uber drivers and raided the company’s local office, taking away three people. The police said that the drivers were “illegally driving cars for rental purpose” and operating “without third-party insurance”. Whoopsies!
InvestHK is so red-faced that they’ve apparently deleted the original press release in both English and Chinese, according to eagle-eyed online armchair sleuths at HKGolden and Reddit.
But because everything you’ve ever sent up into the World Wide Web will eventually come back to haunt you (yes, even your Snapchats), here’s what it used to look like:
Now, if you go to the original web addresses, they show a “page not found” error:
Here’s InvestHK still-standing tweet about the story (and of course, it’s now getting a second life as people retweet it ironically post-police-bust):
And here’s the American Chamber of Commerce sharing the story on Facebook:
The moral of the story: the Hong Kong government will lure you into its trap under the guise of free help, arrest you, raid your offices, then pretend they never supported you in the first place. (And probably steal your candy, too.)