China: Around The Nation

Motorcycle taxi driver charged with sabotaging bike-sharing scheme

Suspect alleged to have painted over barcodes so bikes couldn’t be rented after claiming he was losing customers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 August, 2017, 6:32pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 August, 2017, 6:34pm

A motorcycle taxi driver from central China is facing criminal charges after allegedly sabotaging a bicycle rental scheme that he claimed was putting him out of business, local media reported.

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The 63-year-old, who was not named, is alleged to have painted over the barcodes on more than 20 bikes that were part of a bicycle-sharing scheme in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, Chu Tian Jin Bao reported on Friday.

According to prosecutors in the city’s Jianghan district, the suspect used black paint to obliterate the barcodes on the bikes, which rendered them unrentable. His actions cost the company that operates the sharing scheme more than 2,000 yuan (US$300) in lost revenue, the report said.

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The man, who makes a living driving a motorised tricycle taxi, told police that he became frustrated after losing business to the new scheme, which is operated by Beijing-based Mobike, the report said.

Prosecutors claim he painted over the barcodes on three separate occasions between May 6 and May 9.

Local authorities confirmed that the man is facing criminal charges for his alleged offences, but declined to say what punishment he might face, the report said.

Chinese Bike-sharing services attract more than 100 million users in the past year

According to Beijing-based research company iResearch, the value of China’s bicycle-sharing market rose to 1.23 billion yuan last year, and is set to grow to more than 10 billion yuan by the end of this year.