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Vigilante Hong Kong cabbies went undercover to ensnare illegal Uber drivers. It backfired

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Hong Kong CNN —

They hire their Uber through the app just like any other passenger, and hop in the back of the car.

But halfway through the ride, the mood changes and they reveal their identity.

“Pull over here. It’s you. You are in trouble for driving an Uber,” the passenger tells his driver, during one of a few recent encounters captured in video and circulated online in Hong Kong.

The passengers aren’t traffic cops. They are vigilante taxi drivers taking direct action, having become increasingly frustrated about Hong Kong authorities’ failure to regulate the ride-hailing platform.

After the car pulls over, they hand over the driver, often still reeling in shock, to the police officers they have called.

“You may say this is provocative. But without these videos, people may think we inflate the numbers of ‘white-plate vehicles’ out there,” one of the taxi drivers who took part in a sting operation, and asked to be only identified as Ka Chun, told CNN.

“White-plate vehicles” is how taxi drivers colloquially refer to Uber. “We just want the government to enforce the law.”

A sticker reading «Eliminate online booking of white-plate vehicles» is seen on the back of a taxi in Hong Kong, China, on May 24, 2024. A Uber app is seen on a mobile phone in Hong Kong, China, on May 24, 2024. A taxi is passing through Central, in Hong Kong, China on May 24, 2024.

Uber (UBER) remains technically illegal in Hong Kong, which it entered in 2014. But it has thrived under the ambiguous approach of officials keen to project an image of technological modernity.

“Uber is often