Murder of 21-year-old Didi passenger causes safety concern

Updated 2018-05-11 15:11:01

The tragedy of a young woman reportedly being murdered by a Didi driver has reverberated around Chinese social media, generating great discussion over the safety of using car-hailing services.

The 21-year-old flight attendant, the only daughter of her family, was believed to be killed by the driver when she was taking a Didi private car from central Chinese city Zhengzhou's airport hub to the downtown area on May 6.

The suspect carried a weapon and is still on the run, according to local police.

Didi Chuxing, China's largest car-hailing service platform, apologized in a public statement on Thursday and offered a reward of up to one million yuan (158,000 US dollars) for clues of the suspect.

The company also said it has established a special team to cooperate with the police in searching for the suspect.

The tragedy is not the first case of a driver attacking a Didi passenger.

A passenger surnamed Zhang, who also claimed to be an investor in Didi, said on April 29 he was attacked by a Didi driver when he wanted to cancel an order.

In 2016, a Didi driver in Shenzhen, southern China's Guangdong Province, drove the victim, a 24-year-old female, to a remote area, then robbed and murdered her on the night of May 2.

All of the drivers in the three cases are registered as private car sharing drivers on Didi, prompting concerns that the platform does not properly check the backgrounds of its drivers, especially private car drivers, to ensure passenger safety.

In addition to hailing taxis, Didi also offers Uber-like service, including Didi Kuaiche, which uses private cars, and Didi Hitch, which matches drivers and passengers who share similar routes.

As a leading unicorn company in China, Didi offers car-hailing services in about 400 cities with 90 percent market share across the country.

Didi has become one of the world's most valuable startups. Investors assigned Didi a valuation of about 56 billion US dollars, surpassing Uber's 48 billion US dollars, Fortune reported in January.

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