HONG KONG (Reuters) – Police raided the Hong Kong offices of taxi-hailing service Uber Inc on Tuesday and arrested five drivers for the “illegal use of vehicles for hire”, police said.
A Hong Kong police senior inspector, Bruce Hung, said undercover police officers had used a mobile phone app to hail five cars and arrested the drivers after being driven to their destinations.
He said the drivers lacked the required hire car permits or third party insurance.
The police officers’ fares had been settled using a credit card, Hung said.
Harold Li, Uber spokesman for North Asia, said Uber stood by its “driver-partners 100 percent” and welcomed the chance to work with authorities “towards updated regulations that put the safety and interests of riders and drivers first”.
“Uber ensures that all rides are covered by insurance, and all drivers on the platform undergo an extensive background check,” Li said in an email on Wednesday.
Police also searched two offices in Hong Kong on Tuesday, including at least one belonging to Uber, a police spokeswoman said. Police were shown on Hong Kong television taking away documents, computers and iPads.