SEOUL, March 22 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday demanded a 10 million won (US$8,900) fine for the local unit of app-based ride service provider Uber during a trial of its alleged illegal taxi business here.
Travis Kalanick, founder and CEO of the U.S.-based taxi service Uber Technologies Inc., and its local unit were indicted in December 2014 for violating the Passenger Transport Service Act.
Under the law, rental-car service operators are banned from offering taxi services. Violators can face imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of 20 million won.
MK Korea, a local rental-car service operator, and its chief were also indicted and sentenced to 2 million won in fines each in 2015 for providing vehicles to Uber.
“The defendant admits to the charges and has been operating legitimately after modifying issues that were in violation of the local law,” Uber Korea’s legal representative told the court, pleading for a favorable ruling.
The sentencing hearing is slated for April 26.
The court, meanwhile, delayed the hearing for Kalanick, as he did not appear at the trial.
He has been declining to answer the summons from the prosecution and the court, but there is no effective way for local authorities to force him to stand trial here.
Uber, designed to connect customers with private drivers without taking into consideration if they have a commercial taxi license, entered the South Korean market in 2013 and launched the smartphone-based service in partnership with MK Korea.
It has since been under intense public scrutiny as taxi drivers and companies accused it of hurting their businesses.