Didi Chuxing driver suspected of killing young woman passenger in Shenzhen

The victim, a 24-year-old primary school teacher, reportedly took photo of vehicle’s number plate just before entering; company vows to tighten checks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2016, 4:39pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2016, 4:42pm

A 24-year-old man who fraudulently signed up to work for China’s largest ride-hailing company has confessed to killing a young woman passenger and dumping her body in a remote part of the booming tech city of Shenzhen, mainland media reports.

The slaying has renewed fears over the nation’s lack of regulations for the rapidly growing car-service market, although the company affected, Didi Chuxing, said it would tighten driver regulations.

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According to Southern Metropolis News, the 24-year-old victim called for a car to go to the school where she worked as a primary school teacher on Monday night.

A photo later posted online was purportedly taken by her. The image is slightly blurred – as if taken in a hurry – but it clearly shows the rear of a car and its number plate. Didi identified the plate as different from what the suspect registered when he signed up with the company.

After picking her up, the driver took the woman to a deserted part of the city and robbed and killed her, the News reported, citing the police.

An online post that later appeared in a local forum said the family couldn’t reach the woman, and the message was accompanied with the photo of the rear of the car, the News said.

The suspect was caught in a rented flat the next day, according to a statement by the Nanshan district police. It gave no other details of the case.

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Didi said on its official microblog that an initial investigation indicated the suspect had used a real ID card, driving permit and vehicle registration documents, which contained a number plate different from the one on the car that night. The company vowed to shoulder responsibility and tighten checks on drivers.

Safety concerns have dogged the ride-hailing industry on the mainland as it grows increasingly popular and spreads to hundreds of cities. In March, Shenzhen transport authorities criticised five major providers after finding 1,425 drivers in the industry had a record of drug abuse.

Another 1,661 had criminal records for other offences, while at least one driver was a registered psychiatric patient with a history of violent behaviour in public.

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The mainland is drafting rules for car-hiring services that will also cover the taxi trade. The move is seen as paving the way to legalise ride apps, including Uber.

The Ministry of Transport said late last month the regulations would be released as soon as this month. They are expected to include provisions on how firms are licensed and the pricing for services.

Additional reporting by Li Jing