Hong Kong's first bike-sharing service off to rocky start as 3 bicycles found thrown into river

Three GoBee bicycles were found thrown into the Shing Mun River last Saturday (April 22).
Three GoBee bicycles were found thrown into the Shing Mun River last Saturday (April 22). PHOTO: GOBEE.BIKE/FACEBOOK

HONG KONG - It was not the most auspicious of starts for Hong Kong's first bicycle-sharing service GoBee.Bike, which had three of its bicycles thrown into a river in Sha Tin last Saturday (April 22).

A fourth was found damaged near the Shin Mun River at around 2.30pm, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Sunday.

Police have classified the case as criminal damage.

GoBee, which launched last Wednesday with over 400 smart bicycles painted bright green, allows users to rent its bikes by scanning a QR code with their mobile phones.

A 30-minute ride costs HK$5 (S$0.90).

Founder Raphael Cohen told SCMP that a total of nine bicycles, including the three thrown into the river, have been found damaged since GoBee's app debuted last Wednesday.

 
 

The other bikes were missing parts such as handles, brakes or lights.

"They are trying to make the bikes unsafe to use," he added. "It feels pretty sad. I thought Hong Kong was a very safe city."

GoBee also experienced security issues on the first day of its launch, after it was discovered that 450 accounts on its app had been compromised.

A programmer said the app transferred users' credit card details to its server without encryption, thus increasing the risk that users could be hacked.

Mr Cohen said the problems were fixed within 24 hours, and that no information had been stolen.

Singapore, whose bike-sharing scene is also relatively new, has also experienced its fair share of problems.

There have been reports of people taking the bicycles home for their personal use, while more recently a teenager was filmed throwing and stomping an ofo bike in the Geylang Bahru area.

Besides China-based ofo, two other bike-sharing firms operate in Singapore - local start-up oBike and Mobike, another China outfit.

Users of oBike pay $1 for every 30 minutes, while renting an ofo or a Mobike starts from 50 cents.