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China’s Didi suspends 1 carpooling service after killing

August 26, 2018

In this June 13, 2016, photo, a receptionist walks by front desk of the service station for Didi Chuxing's drivers in Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang province. Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has fired two executives and will suspend one of its carpooling services nationwide starting Monday after a woman was allegedly raped and killed by a driver in eastern China, the company said Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018. (Chinatopix via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has fired two executives and will suspend one of its carpooling services nationwide starting Monday after a woman was raped and killed allegedly by a driver in eastern China, the company said Sunday.

The moves come as the country’s largest online ride-hailing platform scrambles to address public complaints that it isn’t doing enough to ensure the safety of its users who it says book 30 million rides daily.

The killing of the female passenger on Friday was the latest violent crime involving a Didi driver, only three months after another Didi driver allegedly killed a flight attendant.

Police in the city of Yueqing in Zhejiang province said they arrested a Didi driver who admitted raping and killing the 20-year-old woman on Friday. On Saturday, Didi Chuxing apologized, saying it has “inescapable responsibility” for the incident.

The victim had used the carpooling service in the afternoon and after getting into a car sent a text message to her friends calling for help, police said.

Didi Chuxing will halt its “Hitch” service starting Monday, it said, referring to a carpooling service, one of several ride-hailing options available on Didi’s platform.

The company acknowledged that it failed to respond promptly to a possible warning sign about the driver who allegedly killed the woman on Friday, saying that the platform had received a complaint a day earlier from another passenger about him.

That passenger had complained that the driver repeatedly asked her to sit in front, drove them to a remote spot, and followed her for a while even after she got out of the car, Didi Chuxing said in a statement.

“Our customer service promises to reply to customers within two hours but we failed and did not carry out an investigation into this complaint in a timely way. No matter what reasons we had, we shoulder inescapable responsibility,” it said.

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