Date
18 January 2019
A taxi driver takes part in a protest in Seoul in October against a carpool service application that will be launched by Kakao Corp. later this year. Photo: Reuters
A taxi driver takes part in a protest in Seoul in October against a carpool service application that will be launched by Kakao Corp. later this year. Photo: Reuters

S Korean taxi driver sets self on fire to protest carpool app

A South Korean taxi driver set himself on fire and died on Monday to protest a carpooling service proposed by a company that operates the country’s most popular chat app, Reuters reports.

The 57-year-old driver doused himself in a flammable liquid and then lit his clothing while sitting in a taxi near parliament, police and the fire department said.

Unionized taxi drivers have held rallies in the capital, Seoul, to protest the carpooling app proposed by Kakao Mobility, which they say threatens their jobs.

Kakao Mobility, the transportation service arm of top mobile messenger operator Kakao Corp., said on Friday it was testing the carpooling app despite opposition from taxi drivers who want the government to refuse permission for the service.

“We are still in the middle of a tug-of-war against the government to stop the carpool service,” said an official at the Korea National Joint Conference of Taxi Association.

A spokeswoman for Kakao Mobility said the company extended its sympathies to the family of the taxi driver. 

“We feel sorry and sad and express our condolences,” the spokeswoman said. She declined further comment. 

The transport ministry was not immediately available for comment.

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CG

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