Amid Hong Kong Uber crackdown, driver for delivery firm GoGoVan nabbed for carrying passengers
A driver for a mobile app-powered delivery company was fined HK$2,500 on Wednesday and banned from the road for carrying passengers for money.
Li Kay-tak, 44, of GoGoVan was caught in a police sting operation. He admitted one count of driving a motor vehicle to carry passengers for hire and reward in violation of section 52 of the Road Traffic Ordinance.
At Kowloon City Court, he also pleaded guilty to one count of using a vehicle without third-party insurance. Besides fining Li, Magistrate Veronica Heung Shuk-han suspended his driving licence for 12 months.
The court heard that on July 9, two plain-clothes police officers booked Li's van via GoGoVan's mobile app.
They told Li over the phone they wanted to go from Lai Chi Kok to Hung Hom, but had no goods to carry. Despite that, Li came and gave them the ride.
Li, who accepted HK$65 as a reward, was arrested after pulling over at the destination, Harbour Centre in Hung Hom.
A police investigation later found that the insurance covering Li's vehicle was only valid when he was not taking passengers for money.
The case came amid a high-profile police raid on Tuesday at the offices of car-hire giant Uber during which five drivers were arrested and three staff members taken away for investigation.
Asked about the Li case, lawyer Albert Luk Wai-hung said delivery services like GoGoVan were meant to operate solely for logistics purposes, although police might not prosecute when passengers merely tagged along to look after their goods.
"The main purpose of the ride remains, which is to deliver goods," he said, adding that such services were less controversial than Uber.