Didi driver sentenced for raping, robbing passenger
A man uses taxi-hailing app Didi Dache on his smartphone on a road in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province, April 9, 2015. [Photo/IC]
A local court in central China has sentenced a driver of ride-hailing service Didi Kuaidi to eight years in prison for raping and robbing a female passenger.
The driver, surnamed Li, picked up the victim late at night on Oct 19 last year in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, before he threatened her with a fake gun.
The victim, who has not been identified, said she was later raped and forced to wire 25,000 yuan to the man's bank account.
Didi said in a statement that the accused driver did not have any criminal record, but the company would further step up its efforts to ensure passengers' safety.
The case is the latest in a spate of recent sexual assault claims against Didi drivers across the country as authorities are seeking better ways to regulate the country's booming car-hailing service.
Last week, a Didi driver was sent to prison in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province, for raping a woman who had been drinking and had fallen asleep in his car's backseat.
In November, a court in Beijing sentenced a Didi driver to four years for raping a female passenger.
The court suggested at the time that people should take security measures. "It's better to be sure of the drivers' information when booking a car, because people often use such online platforms to cheat others or even commit crimes.”
Earlier this month, Didi said it had expelled an undisclosed number of drivers in Shenzhen, Guangdong, who were found to have a history of drug use, mental illness or significant criminal records.
Didi's action follows a statement issued by Shenzhen transport commission that noted that five ride-hailing platforms had lax screening processes for drivers.
An initial inspection by Shenzhen's public security department showed that among Shenzhen's app drivers, 1,425 had a history of drug use, 1,661 had significant criminal records, and one driver was mentally ill and had caused traffic troubles.
Didi provided personal information on all its drivers to Shenzhen police. After investigation, a list of problematic drivers was sent to the company.
Didi has also asked for police background checks on drivers in other cities to rule out those who might be a risk to the safety of passengers.