BEIJING Chinese Knight Giant Didi Chuxing Technology Co. said that it temporarily stopped one of its services for the second time in three months after the police had said that a Didi driver raped and killed a female passenger in East China.
Didi, who said it plans to stop his Hitch Carpool service from Monday, also shoots two managers responsible for the carpool business and customer service, the company said on Sunday.
One of the world's largest technological startups dominates Didi's raging market in many cities in China, and Uber Technologies Inc. is the chief rival globally.
It was the second death since May with a passenger who used Didi Hitch, a service that allows private car owners to register as drivers. The last incident triggered widespread criticism of Didi on social media, and state news agency Xinhua blasted Didi in a comment on Sunday for "indifference" for passenger safety.
Police said the last victim ordered a Didi carpool trip in Zhejiang Province on Friday, and later sent a message to a friend asking for help. It led the victim's family and friends to contact Didi and local law enforcement, but Didi's customer service did not respond for several hours before the police intervene, according to a statement from the police in Wenzhou City investigating the case.
The suspect, a Didi driver, was arrested on Saturday and confessed raping and stabbed the victim before throwing his body from a rock, police said. The suspect attorney could not be identified immediately.
Didi gave an apology on Saturday and said Sunday it would be better to recognize risk and speed up. "As the scope of our services grows, we face a huge challenge to our ability to handle security," said it. "We will humbly and sincerely accept the criticism from the public and the government's overall."
In May, Didi stopped his carpool service for a week after a 21
This incident became widespread, which led to Didi announced plans to improve passenger protection, including face detection to ensure driver identity and upgrade of an emergency response feature on his app.
Didi's largest business in China is Didi Express rideside service, which is not affected by Hitch's suspension. The company also operates taxi and premium car services, which are not affected by the suspension.
Worldwide services have been criticized for not paying enough attention to passenger safety. In India, accusations that a Uber driver raped a woman led to a nationwide ban on smartphone-enabled taxi services in 2014 while in Lebanon a Uber driver was arrested by killing a British diplomat in 2017.
-Yang Jie contributed to this article.
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