Only one month after ride-hailing platform Didi resumed its Hitch service during night time after a murder of a female passenger by its driver led to its suspension, another assault has rocked the company’s reputation.

Police in Huai’an city in Jiangsu province have arrested a driver named Liu for the suspected rape of a female passenger, local media is reporting. The driver confessed on July 13th and is waiting for legal processing. The woman surnamed Ma called a driver after a night out with a friend surnamed Chen who exited the car when she arrived at her destination. The driver assaulted the woman while she was drunk and sleeping.

Didi has responded TechNode with a statement saying that the company is in touch with all the parties involved and has provided the police with information on the suspect’s rides and history which was used in the case. Didi also said that the detection rate of criminal offenses on the platform is one hundred percent.

After verification, Liu’s registration certificate information was revealed as true and accurate. There was no record of complaints and no violent criminal record. We strongly condemn this crime. Liu’s behavior has seriously violated the relevant rules of the platform, and the platform has permanently banned him. At present, Chen is detained by local public security organs.

Didi’s last scandal involved a 21-year old flight attendant who was apparently murdered by her Didi Hitch (顺风车) driver who then proceeded to kill himself. The incident revealed flaws in the car-pooling service which was previously viewed as a social media platform. It allowed drivers to comment on the passengers’ personality and physical attractiveness, many of which were disrespectful towards female passengers. Another issue was that drivers could avoid verifying their identity.

Didi publicly apologized for the incident and reinstated new measures to ensure driver safety. After shutting down the service entirely on May 12, the company decided to suspend the night-time road sharing service on May 16. It also announced that it will introduce background checks of ID, driver’s license, and vehicle registration as well as face recognition for each driver every day.

Among other measures, Didi decided to make its emergency help button more prominent and offer the choice to dial the police, an ambulance of traffic emergency hotline as well as Didi’s emergency hotline. Pressing the button already starts a recording of what’s happening in the vehicle and prompts the Didi call center to call the passenger and share an emergency contact.

After this newest assault, Didi appealed to drivers and passengers to “jointly safeguard the security environment of the platform, do not indulge in impulsive behavior and do harm to others.”

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.

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