The Supreme Court on Thursday acquitted former Socar CEO Lee Jae-wrong, ending a long-running dispute over the legitimacy of the ride-hailing service Tada.
Why It Matters: The ruling is significant because it assesses a case where innovation was stifled by pressure from the incumbent taxi industry.
The Key Points:
- Lee Jae-Woong and former VCNC CEO Park Jae-uk were indicted in 2019, without detention, for allegedly violating the Passenger Transportation Service Act with the ride-hailing service Tada Basic.
- Lower courts had previously acquitted Lee and Park, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court, which said the defendants "did not misinterpret clauses of the former transportation law."
- After being acquitted by the lower courts, Lee resigned in 2020, and Park succeeded him as Socar's CEO.
- VCNC, a Socar affiliate, indefinitely suspended its Tada Basic service in 2020, citing a change in the law that banned services that provide vans with drivers.
The Big Picture: The case garnered significant media attention and could set a precedent for future car rental and sharing companies in South Korea.
Despite the acquittals, Tada cannot offer the same services under the revised law.
The company continues to provide services that comply with transportation laws, such as Tada Light and Tada Next.
The Supreme Court ruling confirms that Socar's operations were legal, but changes in legislation continue to shape the industry's future.