HONG KONG, March 10 (Reuters) - Five Hong Kong Uber drivers
were found guilty of illegally using their vehicles for
commercial purposes by a local court on Friday, dealing a
potential blow to Uber Technologies Inc's operations
in the Asian financial hub.
The verdict comes less than a month after the multi-billion
dollar ride-hailing service pulled out of Taiwan.
Uber, headquartered in San Francisco, has been facing
similar legal scrutiny in markets across Asia.
The judge, So Wai-tak, said the drivers' vehicles had been
used for commercial purposes and that their insurance excluded
commercial use leaving passengers unprotected.
The pressure against Uber in the China-ruled former British
colony stems in part from local taxi drivers mounting protests
against the online service for hurting their livelihoods. Uber
has faced similar protests across the world.
The financial hub of Hong Kong, while dubbed one of the
world's freest economies, has a tightly regulated taxi sector
that is known for its relatively low fares compared with other
global cities like London and New York.
Uber hasn't officially released figures on the size of its
business in Hong Kong, but it is believed more than one million
rides have so far been given with tens of thousands of
(Reporting by Venus Wu and Sijia Jiang; Editing by James
Pomfret and Randy Fabi)