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Socar CEO is scolded by FSC chair for online rant

May 23,2019
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Choi Jong-ku
The battle between Tada and taxi drivers continues, with a government official now joining the fray.

Choi Jong-ku, chairman at the Financial Services Commission (FSC), accused Lee Jae-woong, CEO of Socar, of “being rude and selfish.”

Socar, a major car-sharing platform, is the parent of VCNC, which operates Tada. Tada is not related to the car-hailing company of the same name operating in Vietnam and Singapore.

With taxi companies, associations and drivers accusing mobility start-ups of harming their businesses through protests, Lee criticized the movement, claiming that the resistance is stifling innovation and slowing development in high-tech mobility.

When a taxi driver in his 70s immolated himself in protest of Tada earlier this month, Lee posted on his Facebook page: “Death should not be used to push agendas or be politicized in the interests of someone.”

Chairman Choi said the comments are inappropriate.

“He spits at the taxi industry, and I think the words are too rude and selfish,” Choi told reporters after an event on Wednesday. Choi went on to side with the taxi drivers.

“The taxi industry is directly affected by emerging businesses and the sharing economy, and they just want to simply keep their jobs in accordance with the law,” Choi said. Lee “needs to show due respect for them.”

Lee fired back on his Facebook account, saying “What’s the point of him saying so out of thin air? Is he intending to run for general election?”

An association representing Korea’s major start-ups has called on the government to take a more active role in mediating between established taxi companies and start-ups.

The Korea Startup Forum noted earlier this week that the government has failed to come up with real measures even after forming a discussion body to guide the parties toward an equitable arrangement.

The Tada service operates minivans that can fit 11 people.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]