Uber denies driver were arrested in Jakarta police crackdown

Thirty Uber drivers were apparently arrested by a task force set up to catch traffic offenders.

Uber taxi. Picture: Uber.com

JAKARTA - Uber Technologies Inc. denied that authorities in Jakarta had arrested some of its drivers after police in the city said they were cracking down on the car-hailing service because it was operating illegally.

Police spokesman Mohammad Iqbal had earlier told Reuters that 30 Uber drivers had been arrested by a task force set up last week to catch traffic offenders. He said Uber drivers did not pay the correct taxes and the company did not have the license needed to operate as a form of public transport.

Uber spokesman Karun Arya, however, told_ Reuters_ in a email that none of its drivers had been arrested, but added that the company was in contact with Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama to address any issues related to its license.

"You have been given incorrect information by the Jakarta Police," Arya added.

On its website, the firm asked customers to sign a petition to help "save" it in Jakarta.

Uber launched in Jakarta last year and has some 6,000 drivers. Other car-hailing apps and online services such as GrabTaxi and motorbike app Go-Jek also operate in the city, where traffic congestion is notorious and public transport is lacking.

The crackdown on US based Uber in Jakarta is the latest in a series of troubles facing the company across the world. Taxi drivers have staged protests against the service for hurting their livelihoods while many city governments have banned it for breaching licensing laws.