Taxi driver behind Uber sting operations revealed as former Occupy Central protester, vows to continue apprehending unlicensed drivers

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Chow Chin-to

22nd May 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong taxi industry has embarked on a series of self-initiated “sting operations” aimed at apprehending unlicensed Uber drivers. This ongoing feud between the two sides has reached a boiling point, becoming a hot topic in society. In an attempt to quell the situation, Chief Executive John Lee has stepped in to address the issue, cautioning taxi drivers against taking matters into their own hands and warning them of the potential legal consequences. The identity of the vigilante figure behind these operations, has remained shrouded in secrecy. It is understood that even the police have been actively seeking information, concerned that certain individuals may exploit the situation for ulterior motives. It has now been revealed that the mastermind behind these operations is Chow Chin-to, a veteran member of the taxi industry who gained notoriety during the Occupy Central movement.

Chow Chin-to, openly admitting his involvement, has claimed responsibility for reporting a total of 18 Uber drivers thus far, with approximately ten others participating in these operations. He boldly asserts that he will continue the “sting operations” until a satisfactory regulatory framework for ride-hailing services is established. He justifies his actions by stating that the Chief Executive’s response has not been one of condemnation but rather an appeal for caution, expressing concerns for their safety. Chow Chin-to further argues that if those who report these incidents face the risk of legal repercussions, it would discourage others from coming forward. In his view, engaging in these operations is a necessary response to the potential threat posed by unlicensed Uber drivers, who, as he claims, are prone to violent behaviour. He, however, maintains that the taxi industry is not inclined towards aggression.

The friction between the taxi industry and ride-hailing platforms like Uber has persisted since Uber’s arrival in Hong Kong in 2014, challenging the monopoly traditionally held by taxis. The confrontations and disputes between taxi drivers and unlicensed operators, particularly Uber, have been ongoing. With the government poised to introduce regulations for ride-hailing services, tensions have risen. Last week, several incidents involving taxi drivers taking matters into their own hands and targeting unlicensed operators surfaced online. Some members of the industry have explained that the actions were born out of frustration, citing weak law enforcement efforts by the police as a contributing factor. This self-initiated vigilantism has fueled a heated debate and captured public attention.

In response to these developments, Chief Executive John Lee has advised taxi drivers against conducting vigilante operations, urging them instead to report any grievances or complaints to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. He emphasised that vigilante actions require proper training and adherence to strict rules and legal boundaries. He warned against the risks associated with taking matters into one’s own hands, particularly for those with limited legal knowledge, as it could lead to unintended legal consequences.