Hong Kong has joined the growing list of places around the world in which drivers hired by the ride-hailing app Uber have fallen foul of the law for breaching licence and insurance regulations. Two former Uber drivers were slapped with a HK$7,000 fine and one-year driving ban by Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen at Kowloon City Court yesterday, despite one of them claiming that Uber had misled him over his insurance cover. Law described Uber as a “well-organised network”. Aaron Lam Man-lok and Walter Kwan Poi-chi were arrested along with five other drivers and seven non-driving Uber staff in undercover sting operations by police officers last summer. Lam, 37, and Kwan, 63, each admitted using a car for hire without a permit and driving that vehicle without the specific third-party insurance required. READ MORE: New budget service, UberX, is ‘slap in the face’ of government says Hong Kong taxi driver association The remaining five drivers are due to appear in court on February 24, and an Uber spokesman said most of them “intend to contest the charges in the months to come”. The Uber staff arrested in last year’s police sting have all been released unconditionally. Drivers for the US-based company – who are hired on freelance contracts – have faced similar legal action in a string of countries including Australia, France and Germany. Kwan, who declined legal help from Uber, told the court: “When I joined [Uber]...I knew that insurance could be a problem. But the company assured me that they have a worldwide insurance which covers us.” After he was arrested he approached Uber to ask about the insurance but never got to see the document. “I was careless and I was misled,” he said, adding that Uber never gave him a copy of the insurance document. Outside court, Uber said the drivers were responsible for obtaining the necessary insurance and that the company checked for it when hiring . The company’s global insurance policy covered an Uber vehicle if a driver’s own vehicle insurance “is exhausted or does not apply to an incident”, it added. Lawmaker James To Kun-sun said further clarification about Uber’s insurance was needed. Lam’s lawyer, Edwin Choy, said his client did not know his actions would be illegal. The court heard that Lam graduated with a bachelor’s degree overseas and returned to Hong Kong in 2002 during the economic slump. He had worked in various jobs but was now serving in a restaurant and earning about HK$18,000 a month. READ MORE: Hong Kong’s beleaguered taxi drivers form coalition to launch app to head off Uber threat He bought a car in July last year and joined Uber in a bid to make a side income as a part-time driver as he was the sole breadwinner in the family. Lam was caught in an undercover operation on August 11 when a police officer posed as a passenger and ordered a pick-up in Sha Tin. Kwan is a driver by profession, so the judge allowed him time to change his job, ordering his fines to be paid in two instalments – one in May and another in June. Taxi unionist To Sun-tong said he welcomed the court’s decision. Additional reporting by Stuart Lau Court action in other countries Germany March 2015 A Frankfurt court rules that Uber drivers must hold official permits required of taxi drivers. France September 2015 Court rules against Uber and affirms law that bans services that use private car owners without formal training. Australia December 2015 A Melbourne court hands a Uber driver with a A$900 (HK$4,875) fine for operating without proper accreditation.