Authorities impound car used in alleged Uber scam; driver assisting in investigations

The office of Uber Singapore at River Valley, pictured on Sept 25, 2014. The Honda car which was used in an alleged Uber scam was found on Monday night and has been impounded by the authorities, a source told The Straits Times. -- ST PHOTO:&nbsp
The office of Uber Singapore at River Valley, pictured on Sept 25, 2014. The Honda car which was used in an alleged Uber scam was found on Monday night and has been impounded by the authorities, a source told The Straits Times. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - The Honda car which was used in an alleged Uber scam was found on Monday night and has been impounded by the authorities, a source told The Straits Times.

The car, with licence plate number SJT 1444Y, was believed to have been driven by an individual claiming to be from the ride-booking service Uber and who has allegedly scammed at least two commuters.

Police said the same vehicle was also involved in an alleged case of criminal breach of trust on Feb 18.

The Straits Times understands that a 29-year-old man who is assisting with investigations may be linked to the recent incidents

A picture of the Honda car was posted on Facebook on Sunday by Mr Joverst Lee, 22, who was one of the victims.

Mr Lee said he was charged $97 for a trip from Beach Road to Yio Chu Kang. When the driver first offered Mr Lee and his family a ride, he claimed to be from Uber and said a flat rate of $3.90, along with a $0.70 per km charge would apply.

However, Mr Lee said during the journey, he noticed that the fare - which was being displayed on a phone app - had hit $50.

Mr Lee, who works in the construction industry, told the driver to drop them off at Yio Chu Kang, instead of his original destination at Woodlands where he lived.

Still, the bill amounted to $97, with the driver changing his tune to say that the charge was $8 per km instead. As he was concerned for the safety of his wife, 21, and daughter, 3, and month-old son, Mr Lee said he chose to pay the amount and walk away. He has since filed a police report.

In a second incident reported by The New Paper, also allegedly involving the same car, Muay Thai gym owner Darius Wong, 25, said the driver tried to charge him $37 for a ride from Toa Payoh to Novena Square.

Mr Wong said that he had wanted to go to Chinatown but asked the driver to let him off earlier after seeing the charges rocket. Mr Wong, however, only paid $10 and walked away.

On Tuesday, Uber alerted the public to a individual masquerading as one of the company's drivers, and confirmed that the car involved was not registered with them.

A spokesman said: "Please be reminded that Uber is an on-demand platform where riders and driver-partners are matched via the app, not street hails."