Drivers in Hong Kong appealed in opposition to their convictions on Monday, arguing that they ought to now not have fallen sufferer to a visitors law that turned into remaining up to date more than 3 a long time ago and had failed to preserve pace with technological improvements.
Their convictions had also put other expert drivers in criminal hazard, their lawyers advised Hong Kong’s High Court within the first enchantment to pit the ride-hailing company in opposition to the town’s government.
The attraction stemmed from the conviction final July of 28 drivers, aged 22 to 60, who were discovered guilty of driving passengers without a hire vehicle allows.
The drivers were fined between HK$3,800 (US$487) and HK$4,500.
The experience-hailing provider has been struggling to comply with neighborhood legal guidelines since it arrived inside the town in 2014. It has not received a central authority-issued allow for the supply of shipping services.
In all, 25 drivers filed an appeal against their conviction but one died. All had appointed barrister Derek Chan Ching-lung SC to argue their case.
Chan instructed the court docket the arrangement utilized by Uber – in which passengers make an appointment thru a cell app before they’re picked up by using an assigned driver – ought to no longer be blanketed by using a regulation that was last updated in 1984.
“The form of [arrangement] could not be foreseen at the time of the enactment,” Chan said.
The provision in query falls below the Road Traffic Ordinance, which states that no character shall drive a car “for the carriage of passengers for hire or praise” until the car has been certified as a bus, minibus or taxi.
Chan stated Uber drivers in no way without delay took any reward from the passenger. Rather, they had been paid by way of the United States-based totally company according to with an agreement they signed with Uber in desirable religion.
The barrister asked the court docket to exclude Uber’s arrangement from the confines of the regulation, saying the decrease court had made the scope too extensive while the drivers have been convicted. He stated the drivers have been merely pleasing their contractual obligations.
He likened the scenario to a professional driving force hired by a man or woman on month-to-month profits. If the driver changed into advised by using his organization to drive a pal around, he also could fall foul of the regulation because he becomes receiving his month-to-month salary.
But countering Chan’s claims, prosecutors stated the case had nothing to do with generation. They said the fee association may want to exist – and should be regulated – in real existence, however best that Uber had made it take place through an app.
They also said Uber’s operations had the individual of a business association, in contrast to the personal motive force Chan used for example.
Mr. Justice Alex Lee Wen-tang started the day by telling legal professionals for both sides that he had recently noticed his daughter turned into a one-time purchaser of Uber. He said the fee of that journey was tied to his credit score card so he had informed her to chorus from using the provider. Neither party raised any issues of bias.
The enchantment continues on Tuesday.
Aside from the case closing July, 5 others had been convicted of the identical offense the previous year after some other decrease court docket discovered there has been no giant distinction among Uber drivers and personal taxi services recognized domestically as pak pai, which the Road Traffic Ordinance sought to regulate.
In March this year, the ride-hailing firm released Uber Flash, an initiative to companion with nearby taxi drivers in an apparent bid to fall in step with the law. But it got off to a rough begin whilst the small taxi company Uber had partnered sponsored out on the final minute because the owner said he obtained threats towards his circle of relatives and faced a potential boycott by way of coverage agencies.