JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) – Five drivers working with the smartphone car-hailing service Uber were detained by Jakarta Police on Friday, June 19, the head of the local transport organization said.
H. Shafruhan Sinungan, the head of the Jakarta chapter of the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda), told Rappler that Organda ordered several Uber cars on Friday, and police brought the 5 who arrived to the police station for questioning.
"The Jakarta Police took action after Organda reported Uber to the police a while ago, because they were operating without proper permits and using mobile phone applications to order private vehicles with black plates as taxis," he said.
"They were operating as entrepreneurs but they don't actually have a license to operate. This is not about consumer complaints but about how this type of business is ruining the transportation industry."
He added that police have previously tried to talk to Uber Jakarta officials, but their summons were not met.
In a statement on Friday, Uber said it was investigating the reports and added that it would help the partner drivers resolve the matter amicably.
"Uber complies with all applicable local tax laws and pays applicable taxes in every market it operates in," the statement said.
"Uber Asia has a licensed and registered representative office in Jakarta."
Just a week after Uber launched Jakarta last year, the local goverment threatened to shut it down due to licensing issues.
"In our opinion, the service Uber provides is just like a taxi service, but it doesn't have a license to operate as one in this city," Jakarta transport agency chief Muhammad Akbar said at the time.
"Registered taxis in Jakarta have to meet certain standards, including some to do with safety, so if Uber wants to operate here, it must be held to the same standards – otherwise it's not fair."
Authorities are concerned that Uber's service will undercut the current market for taxis and that the company may evade tax if not registered legally, Akbar said.
Uber has faced similar resistance from regulators in other countries, who accuse it of unfair competition and lack of standards. But in the Philippines, regulators have already released new regulations that recognize services like Uber. – Rappler.com