Hong Kong’s John Lee warns taxi drivers against targeting Uber with sting operations


City leader John Lee calls for calm amid ‘divergent views’ over regulation of ride-hailing services, says transport authorities to unveil industry study after July. ‘These operations involve some legal issues, and even if law enforcements undertake them, they are subject to strict rules,’ he adds. — SCMP

Hong Kong’s leader has urged taxi drivers to stop launching sting operations against Uber drivers, warning such efforts require proper training and legal knowledge.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Tuesday sought to address “divergent views” among residents over the regulation of ride-hailing services, saying transport authorities would unveil a report on the topic after July.

The call for calm followed an ad hoc sting operation where cabbies posed as Uber passengers to report at least 13 suspected cases of illegal ride-hailing services.

The move also prompted some residents to opt for a tit-for-tat response against the taxi industry.

“I appeal to everyone not to single-handedly launch sting operations. These operations involve some legal issues, and even if law enforcement undertakes them, they are subject to strict rules,” Lee said before his weekly Executive Council meeting.

He stressed that only law enforcement had the know-how needed to legally conduct such operations, as they had the necessary legal knowledge and training to handle any sudden situations.

“People who have not gone through these training sessions and have limited legal knowledge should not do this. Or else, you are at risk of breaking the law,” he said.

Lee said the Transport and Logistics Bureau’s study of online hire-car services explored the legal issues, society’s demand for point-to-point transport and overseas regulation.

The bureau would report its initial findings to the legislature after it was finished in July, he said, adding public views would be considered before the next move was decided.

Uber has been in the city since 2014, but many drivers are believed to be operating without a private car-hire permit, which is subject to a cap of 1,500. – South China Morning Post

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