Early last week Hong Kong's police force arrested 21 Uber drivers for illegally plying for hire. 20 men and one woman between the ages of 21 and 59 were said to be driving vehicles without the correct third-party risk insurance. This is a result of an undercover operation which began back in May, in an attempt to clamp down on the ride-sharing app who they believe are skimming around the edges of current regulations. Chief inspector of police in Kowloon West district, Lau Tatfai, said: "I would like to stress that our law enforcement action is ongoing and we do not rule out further arrests. We would like to say to the operator of the mobile phone application, as a responsible organisation, you need to ensure cars for hire are equipped with a permit as required by Hong Kong laws. This is a basic responsibility to passengers and shows respect for Hong Kong laws" According to reports in Reuters Uber claim they have a ride-sharing insurance policy which complies with local laws and insurance regulations.
In an emailed statement Uber said: "Ride-sharing should not be a crime. Hong Kong is an international city known for its embrace of global economic trends and new technologies, but current transportation regulations have failed to keep up with innovation " A spokesperson for Uber also added the company was "extremely disappointed" with the arrests and the will "stand together" with the 21 drivers, providing them with legal support. Back in March five Uber drivers were fined and had their licences revoked on similar claims. The drivers appealed and had the decision to revoke their licences suspended. Following the verdict, Uber launched a publicity campaign, with newspaper front page adverts and giving away free plane tickets and Manchester United football jerseys to some passengers. Whether or not Uber decide to go on the charm offensive following this latest setback is yet to be seen.