Uber, Hong Kong gov profiled ‘success story’, raided by HK police, Uber drivers arrested

Tuesday, 11 August, 2015
Uber, Hong Kong gov profiled ‘success story’, raided by HK police, Uber drivers arrested

Uber, Hong Kong gov profiled ‘success story’, raided by HK police, Uber drivers arrested

Uber, a controversial taxi alternative that connects private drivers with riders, has its Hong Kong office raided by Regional Crime Unit of Kowloon West today as reported by ABC news. Three Uber Hong Kong employees (age 21 to 29) and five Uber drivers were arrested according to the Hong Kong Chinese media Apple Daily news.

While Uber has run into various legal troubles in different parts of the world including Canadian cities like Calgary (brief operation in 2014, currently halted), Edmonton (pending court case), and Ottawa (taxi drivers released vigilante-style video, Ottawa police and bylaw officers laying 32 charges against Uber drivers), this may be the first time Uber employees and Uber drivers have been arrested in a high profile police sting operation. Especially considering the fact that Uber was just recently in May 2015 featured in an investHK Success Story (PDF file) (investHK is a Hong Kong government department tasked “to attract and retain foreign direct investment which is of strategic importance to the economic development of Hong Kong”.) (2015/05 investHK Success Story 投資推廣署 – 成功個案 PDF)

According to the HK government official May 2015 investHK Success Story (PDF) ,

“InvestHK provided Uber with significant support, including information on public transportation and advice on market entry strategy prior to its launch.”

Let’s think about it for a moment. A government department helping a multi-billion foreign high-tech company with “significant support” including “advice on market entry strategy prior to its launch” sounded like a perfect task and job well done for investHK. And that would fit HKSAR Chief Executive CY Leung‘s often talked about desire to establish an Innovation and Technology Bureau (創新及科技局) very well.

It is not like Uber has changed its business model since May 2015 when Hong Kong government talked about her “significant support” including “advice on market entry strategy prior to its launch” in its investHK Success Story. This reporter is not a lawyer but to many casual observers, the Hong Kong government’s prior “significant support” including “advice on market entry strategy prior to its launch” might be seen by some, fairly or unfairly, as potentially a form of entrapment.

Does Hong Kong still have a stable business environment where innovative entrepreneurs can work under a fair legal system where rule of law still matter? Will the Hong Kong government explain what rules, laws, or regulations have changed between May 2015 (a “success story”) to August 11th where people were arrested and equipment and records confiscated as part of a criminal case investigation?

An earlier version of this report is cross-posted to examiner.

Note 1: Uber is not operating in Calgary even it operated briefly in 2014 before insurance concerns halted the service. In separate polls conducted by the city and the company finds majority of Calgarians embrace idea of Uber. And more importantly, officials from cities like Calgary are willing and working with Uber to try to bring more choices to citizens in a manner that protect the safety of riders.

Note 2: This reporter has uploaded saved copies of the English version of investHK Success and Chinese version of investHK Success Story 投資推廣署 – 成功個案 as part of this news reporting as per fair dealing provisions of copyright law for readers to read and research for themselves. At press time, it appears that both the English and Chinese “success story” files have been deleted from the investHK website. Some Hong Kong Facebook users voiced their suspicion that the HKSAR government might have deleted the files to avoid embarrassment or incriminating evidences.

20150811 Uber Sucess Story deleted - English

20150811 Uber Sucess Story deleted – English

20150811 Uber Sucess Story deleted - Chinese

20150811 Uber Sucess Story deleted – Chinese

11th August 2015 Update: On the night of August 11th, Uber Hong Kong stated “Uber ensures that all trips have insurance coverages” and they will “fully support their drivers” and “fully cooperate with government officials, work to improve current legislation, putting safety and benefits of passengers and drivers first.” (rough translation from Chinese).

For the record, here is the media in Chinese as reported by Apply Daily,

「一直以來,香港市民已明確、清楚的表達,欲享有更多元化和更完善的交通方式。Uber 致力提供安全、可靠及優良的服務,以滿足市民對高效交通服務的需求。與 Uber 合作的司機,使用創新科技平台,提升工作安排的彈性並增加收入。Uber 亦確保所有行程都有保險保障,每位 Uber 司機都必須通過全面的背景審查。我們百分百支持與我們合作的司機,亦期待與有關當局通力合作,推動完善現行的法例,將乘客及司機的安全和利益放在首位。」

Further report here (首次放蛇搗信用卡收費白牌車 警打擊Uber 拘5司機3職員) and here (警檢控 料將案件作測試個案).

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Help make it happen for documentary HKtv Umbrella Revolution

Tuesday, 4 November, 2014
HKtv Umbrella Revolution - Indiegogo page

HKtv Umbrella Revolution – Indiegogo page

You can click this Indiegogo project link right now to contribute or click on the above picture to bring you to our Indiegogo project page. Here are some information about the documentary with an extensive Q&A for your information.

“(香港電視+雨傘) 革命 (HKtv+Umbrella) Revolution” is a documentary consisting of two volumes/parts. Volume 1 is “香港電視革命 HKtv Revolution” and Volume 2 is “雨傘革命 Umbrella Revolution”.

Volume 1 “香港電視革命 HKtv Revolution”

Volume 1 is about the HKTV protests and TV license issuance disputes seen through the eyes of eleven people: the HKTV10, ten HKTV employees who camped and protested at the Civic Square “公民廣場” in front of HKSAR government HQ (香港電視政總留守十子,簡稱「留守十子」) for days, and Kashy Keegan, singer/songwriter of “This is my dream”, a song selected by HKTV for a TV show which later became a de facto HKTV protest song. Filming and interviews for “HKtv Revolution” started in October 2013 during days of massive protests resulted from Chief Executive Mr. Leung Chun-ying HKSAR government’s rejection of HKTV’s license application. The director has made good progress to finish up volume 1 in August/early September 2014 but then 雨傘革命 Umbrella Revolution happened in late September 2014! Since the director sees HKTV protests as the beginning of something bigger, the  film was naturally expanded to include “雨傘革命 Umbrella Revolution”.

Volume 2 “雨傘革命 Umbrella Revolution”

Volume 2 is about the ongoing (over one month long) massive protests in multiple areas of Hong Kong including Admiralty 金鐘, Causeway Bay 銅鑼灣 and Mong Kok 旺角. The director has organized many video clips, photos, artworks from 40+ trusted sources who have experienced Umbrella Revolution on the ground in Hong Kong or have something special to say. If possible, depending on the funds raised in the campaign, the director may consider taking a trip to HK to conduct some in-person interviews and shoot some footage. Paradoxically, the director sees not being in HK has freed his mind to look at the bigger picture. 雨傘革命 Umbrella Revolution is a powerful movement because of the large number of people involved and not by one or a few people alone. Materials from 40+ trusted sources have certainly given the director a different (and likely better) look on things on the ground of Umbrella Revolution.

Please contribute to make this project a reality!

Your contributions small or big can help make “(HKtv + Umbrella) Revolution ( 香港電視 + 雨傘 ) 革命” a reality! Contribution levels start from just one Canadian dollar (which is about HK$7) and you get my BIG Thank You! Really, every contribution counts! Everyone supporting by even a small amount will add up collectively! Witness what HKers have achieved collectively in the last few weeks.

At Canadian $11 (about HK$77) “Level 2 – Revolution Watcher”, you will receive a link to watch the film online when it is available. Plus thanks in the film!! YES, the end credits will include the line “Crowd funded by” with YOUR NAME (using your Indiegogo contribution name)!

At Canadian $22 (about HK$154) “Level 3 – Revolution HD”, you will, in addition to Level 2 rewards, receive an HD digital download of “(HKtv + Umbrella) Revolution ( 香港電視 + 雨傘 ) 革命“ when it is available (after film festival screenings to make the festivals happy).

At Canadian $33 (about HK$231) “Level 4 – Revolution Trilogy“, you will, in addition to Level 2 & 3 rewards,  receive an SD digital download of director’s debut documentary “Long Hair Revolution 長毛革命” (2005) featuring Hon Leung Kwok Hung 梁國雄議員. In 2009, Long Hair Revolution received the honour to be included in the Canadian federal government’s “Library and Archives Canada” permanent collection.

There are seven contribution levels with many rewards listed on the right side of this page, so feel free to select any amount of contributions that fits you!

Long Hair Revolution (長毛革命) in “Library and Archives Canada”

As an independent filmmaker, I try to make films that I think will be interesting and hopefully insightful to watch. If I had waited for someone’s approval or proper funding in 2004, I would not Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Freedom of Press under attack by CY Leung (HKSAR Chief Executive)?

Thursday, 13 February, 2014
20140213 Ms  Li Wei Ling Press conference

20140213 Ms Li Wei Ling (李慧玲) Press conference

Is Freedom of Press in Hong Kong  under severe attack by HKSAR Chief Executive Mr. CY Leung as Ms. Li Wei Ling 李慧玲 (FB page) alleged? You be the judge yourself after watch the full press conference. I personally believe Ms. Li Wei Ling 李慧玲 is a person of the highest integrity through her years of journalistic work. Have a watch of the clip 李慧玲回應被商台解僱事件記者會 starts at 1m23s (full press conference with Q&A on 2014/02/13, over 1 hour long) and judge for yourself.


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