Police in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, are searching for a Didi driver named Liu Zhenhua 刘镇华, who abandoned his car and jumped into a river after allegedly raping and murdering a female passenger on May 6. Didi Chuxing is China’s biggest on-demand transport and car-hailing company.
Didi itself today announced (in Chinese) a reward of up to 1 million yuan ($157,500) for important tips about the case. Liu’s name, photo, government ID, and mobile phone number are included in the post.
According to the Paper (in Chinese), Liu picked up the victim, Li Mingzhu 李明珠, a 21-year-old flight attendant from Shandong Province, around 11:50 p.m. on Saturday from a hotel adjacent to the local airport, and headed to the city’s downtown area.
Soon after the ride started, she said she was a little worried about the driver in a WeChat conversation with a friend obtained by The Paper (screenshot from link above): “He’s a bit lecherous, he said I’m really beautiful and he wants to kiss me. Glad I am not in the front passenger seat.” The friend urged her to make an excuse to get out of the car, and even called her, but she said Li was OK.
Then Li disappeared.
The next day, May 7, after failing to get in touch with Li, her family reported her disappearance to Didi Chuxing and the local police. On May 8, the police found Li’s body with multiple stab wounds.
A few hours later, Zhengzhou police announced (in Chinese) on Weibo that surveillance cameras close to the incident site had captured Liu abandoning his car and jumping into a river. But they have not yet found him. “We’ll get him, dead or alive,” the police wrote.
Li was not the first female passenger to be sexually assaulted by a Didi driver. Moreover, the ride-hailing giant has long been criticized for failing to adequately filter out drivers with criminal histories, and for mishandling reports of sexual harassment filed by female passengers.
Last month, when a female passenger made a call to Didi’s customer service center, reporting that she had been verbally and physically harassed by a male Didi driver, a Didi employee asked her (in Chinese), “Did you give him some hints that he misunderstood?” Also in April, a Didi driver was arrested (in Chinese) for groping a female rider against her will.
Back in 2017, a woman in Zhejiang filmed her Didi driver masturbating at the wheel. After the video went viral on the internet, the woman was detained by police for sharing pornographic content.