February 5, 2015 / 2:00 AM / 5 years ago

South Korea rejects Uber registration proposal, vows to shut firm down

The logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street is seen in this photo illustration taken in Madrid on December 10, 2014. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea on Thursday rejected online ride-sharing firm Uber Technologies Inc’s proposal for a new driver registration system, and vowed to shut down the U.S. company’s operations.

Uber on Wednesday proposed a registration system to allow its drivers to operate legally in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, where CEO Travis Kalanick and the head of the company’s South Korean unit have been indicted for violating licensing rules.

But the transport ministry said a parallel taxi registration system was unacceptable in a market already over-supplied with taxis.

“Transporting customers with private or rented cars and accepting compensation is clearly illegal. The company is ignoring local laws by stating its intention to continue such operations,” the ministry said in a statement.

It said it would continue to curtail Uber’s activities and work with legislators to ban the service.

An Uber spokeswoman declined to comment.

Four-year-old Uber, which helps users summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, has drawn criticism around the world, even as it has continued to expand rapidly into more than 250 cities globally.

In January, the city of Seoul started offering rewards of up to 1 million won ($929) for people who reported private or rented car drivers providing transport through Uber.

In Europe, Uber has been hit with court injunctions in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain for violating taxi licensing rules.

Reporting by Se Young Lee and Sohee Kim; Editing by Stephen Coates

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