South Korea: Uber CEO delays hearing over illegal taxi service charges
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South Korea: Uber CEO delays hearing over illegal taxi service charges

UBER CEO Travid Cordell Kalanick’s scheduled court appearance in South Korea has been deferred after legal representatives filed a petition asking for a change of date, citing personal reasons.

The founder of the popular ride-hailing app was due appear at a Seoul court this morning after being charged with operating an unauthorized taxi service one and a half years ago.

A new date for the hearing has yet to be decided,  Yonhap reported.

SEE ALSO: Hong Kong police raid Uber office, arrest 5 drivers

In December 2014, South Korea became the first country to indict Kalanick, who is also the company’s co-founder, for violating the Passenger Transport Business Act, as the company’s UberX service, which allows ordinary drivers to transport paying customers, breached the law.

The Seoul city government then filed a series of complaints with prosecutors and was able to successfully charge Kalanick and around 30 other Uber employees for breaking the law. Violators can face imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of 20 million won (US$17,000).

Bowing to local pressure, the company shut down its UberX service in the country. Currently, the only Uber service South Koreans have access to is UberTaxi, which hails licensed taxis.

SEE ALSO: Violence breaks out in Jakarta as taxi drivers protest against Uber, Grab

As Uber, which was launched in South Korea in 2013, struggles with legal barriers, other competitors have stepped in. KakaoTalk, one of the country’s top messaging apps, released its own ride-hailing app, KakaoTaxi.

Since its launch in March last year, KakaoTaxi’s popularity has surged among Koreans, while usage of Uber, as a result of the UberX controversy, has plateaued.

Meanwhile, Uber announced the July 1 launch of its carpooling service, UberPOOL, in Singapore on Wednesday.

The new service allows drivers to improve their efficiency by being able to consolidate trips, reducing “dead time” in between customers, while passengers get to benefit from sharing their ride and splitting the cost of a trip with another Uber rider requesting a ride along a similar route at the same time.

Uber said that rides using UberPOOL are expected to be “25 percent cheaper” than those using UberX.