The 64-year-old Korean driver committed suicide by self-immolation near the US embassy in central Seoul, protesting carpooling.
On 3 previous nights (January 9), the 64-year-old driver’s car who has a family name is Im had caught fire near the US embassy in central Seoul, South Korea. Police said he planned to commit suicide to protest carpooling, after they found a suicide note with content calling for a ban on the “illegal” form of business.
Witnesses said driver Im still conscious of being pulled out of a burning car, but died a few hours after arriving at a nearby hospital. Police found flammable materials when searching the vehicle.
Previously, on December 10, 2018, a 57-year-old Choi driver also poured flammable liquids on him and set fire to himself in front of the entrance to the Parliament building in Seoul, in protest. Carpooling service created by leading mobile messaging company Kakao Corp.
Police and firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and brought the driver Choi to the nearest hospital, but unfortunately, this man did not survive due to the severe injury and death.
Kakao T Carpool, a ride sharing service designed to connect ordinary drivers with passengers during morning and evening rush hours. Taxi drivers say Kakao Corp’s service will kill the traditional taxi industry. The active program only allows drivers to make two trips a day, making them angry because they think their work and income are at risk.
A survey in November last year found that 58.2% of Koreans wanted to use joint ride service and only 12.5% opposed it. However, after the first self-immolation driver, Kakao Group postponed the launch of the service on the grounds that it needed social consent. Thousands of drivers have also organized three strikes in recent months to call on the government to prevent the application of carpooling. Since the end of November 2018, thousands of taxi drivers have organized a protest against the Parliament building against Kakao Corp to bring commercial and active carpooling services.
Members from four major associations in Korea participated in demonstrations to do what they called “a determination for survival”. This is also the second largest demonstration of the traditional taxi driver group after the nationwide strike and the demonstration of about 60,000 taxi drivers on October 18, 2018.