Two taxi drivers' associations on Thursday threatened legal action if the government decides to allow ride-hailing services, such as Uber. Their anger stems from a report last month by the Consumer Council that called on the government to gradually open up Hong Kong to ride-hailing services.
The report suggested reforming the 1,500 hire car permit system so companies like Uber could gradually compete with taxis and provide more choice for the public. It also said there would be requirements for background checks and insurance coverage.
The associations, which represent about nearly 20,000 people in the industry, say this is unfair when the next-to-nothing entry costs for ride-hailers are compared to the HK$7 million price tag for a taxi licence. Legal advice is being sought and, if the government presses ahead, a judicial review will probably be the next step.
The government has taken a hard-line against ride-hailing since services began to appear three years ago. In October, 21 Uber drivers were charged for operating without a permit following a police crackdown in May. Five others are looking to appeal after being convicted in March for driving without a permit and third-party insurance.
The council has also said that some of Hong Kong's 40,000 taxi drivers may benefit from ride-hailing.