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Wednesday, August 12, 2015, 22:11

More Uber arrests possible: Police

By Kahon Chan/chinadailyasia.com

More Uber arrests possible: Police
People walk past the front door of the Uber's office in Hong Kong , Aug 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

HONG KONG - Police commissioner Lo Wai-chung said on Wednesday that more arrests in a crackdown on unlicensed car-hailing app Uber is possible after new evidence was seized from an Uber office on Tuesday.

Police on Tuesday arrested five Uber drivers for accepting reward without hire car permits. Three staff working at Uber's driver recruitment office in Cheung Sha Wan were also arrested for aiding and abetting drivers commit the carriage offense.

One notice board seized from the Uber office apparently showed online portals for drivers to check payroll records and information on bonus pay.

"We are not ruling out pressing charges and further arrests," said Lo on the sidelines of an event on Wednesday. He said a complainant who first reported Uber several months ago was concerned about risks to other road users posed by uninsured hire cars.

There were 248 cars registered for hire car permits for limousine service as of July 31, according to the Transport Department. More than one permit holders told China Daily that they had been reached by Uber when the ride hailing app launched service last year.

One permit holder used Uber platform to take orders, but the driver noted his company only saw the Uber platform as a minor sideline to supplement their business. Another driver said they ceased ties with Uber a year ago after Uber stopped underwriting their income.

The Uber app was still running on Wednesday. An Uber driver told a Cable TV reporter who managed to hail a ride that the car was properly licensed.

A Transport Department spokesperson confirmed that the hire car permit does not impose restrictions on channels to accept hire orders. But permit applicants must first secure at least one contract with potential clients. One driver told China Daily that it could take up to nine months for application.

InvestHK, an official agency assisting foreign investors to establish foothold in Hong Kong, previously hailed Uber as a success case in a newsletter published in May. The department removed relevant content on Wednesday, but noted there is room to run mobile car hailing app without breaking the law.

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