June 15, 2015 / 8:11 AM / 3 years ago

Chinese police detain taxi-app driver over alleged assault

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese police have detained a driver on suspicion of sexually assaulting a drunk passenger after she used a ride-hailing app to hire his car, police in the southern city of Guangzhou said on Monday.

The case will likely spark safety concerns over the country’s fast-growing ride-hailing app market which connects passengers with private cars as well as taxis, and which has drawn criticism and scrutiny from regulators who say many drivers operate illegally.

Guangzhou police said in a statement on its website the woman, who had been out with friends, fell asleep in the car and woke up hours later in a hotel room with the driver.

The driver later turned himself in and admitted to having sex with the woman, the statement said, without providing details.

The police statement stopped short of saying the woman had been raped, saying investigations and prosecutions were ongoing.

Police did not name which of China’s many taxi hailing apps the woman had used to hail the car in the early hours of May 29.

The main players in China’s ride-hailing app market include Didi Kuaidi, U.S. tech giant Uber Technologies Inc, as well as a range of smaller players including Yidao Yongche.

Yidao said the case did not involve its app.

Didi Kuaidi, backed by Internet giants Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Uber, which is set to invest $1 billion in China this year, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Uber was banned in New Delhi in December last year after a woman passenger accused one of its drivers there of rape.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan, John Ruwitch and SHANGHAI newsroom; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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