China’s Didi Chuxing Suspends Carpooling Service After Driver Murders Passenger

The company’s general manager and vice president for customer services were immediately fired.

byStephen Edelstein|
China’s Didi Chuxing Suspends Carpooling Service After Driver Murders Passenger

Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has suspended its Hitch carpooling service following the alleged rape and murder of a 20-year-old female passenger in the Chinese city of Wenzhou, reports Reuters. This is the second death associated with the service this year.

On Saturday, a driver identified only as Zhong was detained by local police. In a statement, the police said he had confessed to raping and killing a female passenger he had picked up on Friday. Police also said the body had been recovered and an investigation was ongoing.

Didi said the driver had no prior criminal record, and had provided authentic documentation and passed a facial recognition test before starting work. However, the company said a complaint had been made against the driver on Thursday by a passenger who claimed Zhong had driven them to a remote place and attempted to follow the passenger after they exited the car. The South China Morning Post reported that Zhong "physically altered the appearance of his number plate" before picking up his victim.

Didi Chuxing application., GETTY

"The incident shows the many deficiencies with our customer service processes, especially the failure to act swiftly on the previous passenger's complaint and the cumbersome and rigid process of information sharing with the police," Didi said in a statement. 

The company also added that Huang Jielie, Hitch's general manager, and Huang Jinhong, vice president for customer services, had been fired.

Back in May of this year, 21-year-old Li Mingzhu was allegedly raped and murdered by her male driver. Didi suspended Hitch after that incident, then brought the service back with new safeguards such as facial recognition.

Hitch has racked up over 1 billion trips over the past three years, according to Didi. The service, which allows drivers to pick up multiple passengers, is one of many operated by the company. Other services will continue operating while Hitch is shut down.