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Head of car-sharing app operator acquitted over ride-hailing service Tada

All News 11:12 February 19, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court acquitted the chief of car-sharing app operator SoCar on Wednesday amid controversy over whether its ride-hailing service Tada is illegal.

Lee Jae-woong, SoCar's chief executive officer, was indicted in October 2019 without physical detention on charges of running a transportation business without a license.

The court also found Park Jae-uk, head of SoCar's subsidiary Value Creators & Company (VCNC), not guilty of the same charges. VCNC operates Tada.

The prosecution requested a one-year jail term for each of them and a 20 million-won (US$16,785) fine against VCNC.

Tada -- which means "to ride" in Korean -- was launched in October 2018 and has rapidly grown to become South Korea's leading ride-offering service. It operates mostly in the Seoul metropolitan area.

The centerpiece of the controversy lies in whether Tada should be considered a type of rental car service or an illegal taxi service operating without a license.

Taxi drivers claim that Tada threatens their livelihood and violates the transportation law that forbids rented vehicles from offering rides in exchange for money.

Tada argued that its business is within legal boundaries based on a written exception that specifically allows rented vans -- or vans with 11 to 15 seats -- to be offered with drivers.

Lee criticized the prosecution for turning a blind eye to the changing mobility industry and the government's move to ease regulations that apply to new technologies.

Lee Jae-woong (R), the chief of car-sharing app operator SoCar, and Park Jae-uk, who leads SoCar's subsidiary Value Creators & Company, head to a Seoul court on Feb. 10, 2020, for a trial session to decide whether their van-hailing service Tada is illegal. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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