Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing suspends carpooling service after two drivers accused of rape and murder

Beijing: China's largest ride-hailing service provider Didi Chuxing has fired two executives and suspended its hitch carpooling service from Monday after the second rape and murder of a female passenger in three months allegedly by its drivers, the company said on Sunday.

The move comes after a female passenger was killed on Friday only three months after another Didi driver allegedly killed a flight attendant.

Didi will suspend its hitch online services nationwide and re-evaluate its business model and service logic, a statement issued by the ride hailing firm said.

The hitch ride sharing function allows car owners to provide taxi services.

The company on Sunday dismissed Huang Jieli, general manager for the hitch business, and Huang Jinhong, vice-president for client services, from their duties.

 Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing suspends carpooling service after two drivers accused of rape and murder

The logo of Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing. File image. Reuters

On Friday, the 20-year-old woman in Yueqing of Zhejiang province in eastern China, was raped and killed allegedly by her driver Zhong, who hailed from Southwest China's Sichuan province, state-run China Daily reported. She reportedly sent a message to a friend asking for help before the contact was lost.

Zhong who was arrested had confessed to raping and murdering his passenger, police said, adding that the body has been recovered and the investigation is ongoing.

The company said Zhong had no previous criminal record, but admitted there had been a previous complaint made against him.

A previous passenger said the driver had allegedly taken them to a remote place and followed them after they left the car.

"The incident shows the many deficiencies with our customer service processes," the statement said adding that it was "too high a cost to pay".

On Saturday, the local transportation management authorities in Zhejiang banned Didi's hitch services in the province in an emergency response to the murder case.

Didi suspended and changed its Didi Hitch service in May this year following the rape and murder of a 21-year-old flight attendant by a Didi driver in Zhengzhou.

Didi's slow response to emergency calls has been widely blamed in the Zhejiang murder case, the second in a row after a flight attendant was killed by her "hitch" service driver on 5 May, it said.

Didi, as it is known, is the world's largest ride-hail company by number of trips and bought over Uber in 2016. Since then it has retained the monopoly in Chinese market.

Besides emerging as the world's largest ride-hail company by number of trips, it is reportedly on the verge of completing more than one billion journeys.

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Updated Date: Aug 26, 2018 19:11:12 IST