SEOUL, March 17 (Korea Bizwire) — Nearly 30 people, including the chief of the local unit of U.S. ride-booking app creator Uber Technologies Inc., have been booked on suspicion of operating illegal taxi services in South Korea, police said Tuesday.
The 32-year-old head of Uber Korea, identified only by his last name Kang, another company official, identified by his last name Lee, and 27 others, including drivers and the heads of six different car rental firms, are suspected of connecting passengers with nearby drivers through the UberTaxi app without a license, police said.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who has already been indicted on charges of establishing and running Uber Korea, was booked again on suspicion of conducting an illegal business, they added.
According to the police, Uber Korea took 20 percent of passengers’ taxi fare as commission and paid the remaining 80 percent to drivers. By providing such services, one car rental firm made 96 million won (US$85,000) in three months.
Police also said the Uber app poses a risk for passenger safety as drivers are not screened, cars are uninsured and mobile phone numbers and credit card numbers could be leaked.
“We plan to summon Kalanick soon and check the transaction details of overseas bank accounts to conduct further investigation into those involved in the case,” a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “If Kalanick continues to disobey the summons, we plan to seek an arrest warrant against him.”
The CEO has remained in the United States and refuses to stand trial in South Korea.