Uber CEO Indicted By South Korea For Violating Transportation Law

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
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uber ceo indicted by south korea for violating transportation law

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been indicted in South Korea alongside the local branch of the California-based transportation network company for violating the nation’s prohibition on non-licensed livery drivers.

Reuters reports the law in question prohibits individuals or companies from operating or providing transportation services without proper licensing. The charge follows a measure passed by the South Korean government that would fine those not licensed to be taxi drivers, as well as reward those who report said drivers.

That said, Kalanick et al won’t be arrested under the indictment, which would have resulted in two years’ in prison or a maximum fine of ₩20 million ($18,121 USD).

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Dec 29, 2014

    Given how judgmental and harsh Koreans are on each other, and the copious amounts of taxis everywhere, I wouldn't think it a popular option to be your own taxi driver. That's a low-class occupation, and not one to which people aspire. And if you can afford a nice enough/reliable car to do some taxi driving, then you probably don't wanna be a taxi driver. Korea is also a pretty affordable place to take a taxi - in Busan a good 35 minute cab ride across the entire city was never more than $15. You'll be in the back of a Sonata, Grandeur (XG350), or an SM5. I preferred the SM5 as it was usually the newest car available, and had lots of space in the back. But in Korea you don't get to pick which cab you want if there's a line up (or even just two parked together) - you MUST go to the cab at the front of the line. If you try another one, the driver will tell you to get out and go to the front.

  • Ect Ect on Dec 29, 2014

    "...which would have resulted in two years’ in prison or a maximum fine of ₩20 million ($18,121 USD)" Cameron, I think you meant to meant to say that, if convicted, he could receive a penalty of up to 2 years imprisonment and (or?) a fine, etc.

  • Fishiftstick Fishiftstick on Dec 29, 2014

    Taxi deregulation should be a public policy debate, not imposed unilaterally by a corporation. Uber's behaviour is not an especially powerful argument for such deregulation. I don't know how it works in South Korea, but in most places an investment, often substantial, is required to comply with taxi regulations--training, car maintenance, and/or the purchase of a medallion/license. If a government makes such requirements, it arguably has a duty to those who have complied with it of enforcement against those who do not.

    • See 1 previous
    • Chan Chan on Dec 30, 2014

      @stuki The market will bear a certain amount of unlicensed taxi-like transportation. Whether the general public of a city well-served by Taxis is willing to accept riding with a stranger in a questionably maintained car is not as absolute as Uber or whatever hipster "disruptive" car-sharing company wants you to believe. My friends called an Uber ride here in the San Francisco area once. Dude showed up in a posh black almost-new BMW 3. I understand that cabs here are expensive and not that great to ride in, but my first thought was, "Doesn't this guy have anything better to do with his time?"

  • Jdash1972 Jdash1972 on Dec 29, 2014

    And those medallions are nothing but a pure tax on the riders. Taxis and cab companies are monopolies and the rider experience is not a good one. Cab drivers are the real victims, cab rental is about $100 a day in most places, or more in others. Even if you buy your own cab it must be maintained at the cab companies designated garage... Kick back.... It's a racket. Uber is disruptive to a broken city government controlled monopoly. If the business were properly managed, Uber wouldn't be needed.

    • Chan Chan on Dec 30, 2014

      Yes. That's why in cities well-served by a taxi fleet, service is good and black-market transportation like Uber would not be necessary. Its customer base would be tiny. In the US this would definitely appeal where cab service is poor....and that seems to be the case in many cities.