PEKING – Didi Chuxing, China's Most Popular Car Pool Service, Sent Two High-Level Executives and Suspended Car-Pooling Service in Three Months Following the Second Killing of a Passenger
The crime follows others who have raised questions about the company's ability to Protecting women who use their services and getting into a difficult time for Didi, one of the world's most successful start-ups. It has expanded rapidly in China and around the world, and it is widely expected that it will raise billions of dollars should it try to sell stocks in public markets.
The passenger named Zhao took advantage of the Didi carpool service Hitch on Friday in Wenzhou town in the eastern part of Wenzhou. This afternoon, Wenzhou police said Sunday that she was raped and stabbed. The driver was arrested on Saturday.
The scandal provides more food for critics of the company that bought Uber in China two years ago. In May, a 21-year-old flight attendant was found dead after using Didis Hitch service in downtown Zhengzhou.
Didi said in a statement on Sunday that he had Huang Jieli, Hitch's general director, dismiss Huang Jinhong, vice president of its after-sales service. The former executives could not be reached immediately for a comment.
Didi said on Saturday that the driver had no criminal records and provided authentic documentation to the company. But it also said that another passenger filed a complaint against the driver on Thursday and said that the driver had several times asked to stand next to him to place him, to take the passenger to a remote location and then to follow the passenger after leaving
Didi said he had "accused himself" of not investigating the complaint.
"As a platform, we have failed to trust the public and can not shirk that responsibility," the company said.
A friend of the slain woman told Weibo that they called Didi's customer service hotline seven times, without success. Another friend went to a police station in Wenzhou. When the officials tried to contact Didi, the company said their request would take about three to four hours, the Wenzhou police said.
On social media, Chinese netizens condemned Didi flatly for being slow to respond.
Since May Chinese news agencies have repeatedly cited cases of violence and harassment. At least 53 women have been raped or sexually harassed by Didi drivers over the past four years, reported Southern Weekly, a Guangzhou-based newspaper, citing news and court documents. Caixin, a weekly business publication, found at least 14 rape cases against Didi, citing court documents.
Didi's main business resembles Ubers. The smaller hitch service allowed private drivers to pick up passengers for their daily commuter trips for a little extra money. Didi marketed Hitch as a way for riders to find friends, as well as a cheaper alternative to his other ride-hailing services.
Many features were abused. For example, the app allowed drivers to leave personalized tags and passenger ratings on Didi Hitch. But female passengers noticed that some drivers used these features to comment on their appearance.
Didi announced new measures to improve driver safety after the killing in May, saying it would overtake its security services. It said it would expose drivers' ability to leave personalized tags. The company said it would also stop its hitch service between 22:00 and 19:00. and 6 o'clock in the morning every day. In June, Didi resumed the late night service, but said would not allow male drivers to pick up female passengers in the late hours. The company said the move was designed to protect women, but was criticized as sexist and inconvenient for female passengers, as most Chinese drivers are men.
Elsie Chen contributed to research.