Gojek driver in viral 'kidnap' video issued warning by LTA

PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

SINGAPORE - The Gojek driver involved in a dispute caught on a video that went viral earlier this year has been issued a warning by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) over the incident.

In response to queries, the LTA said on Wednesday (May 8) that the warning was issued to private-hire car driver Kamaruzzaman Abdul Latiff for the unauthorised recording and disclosure of a video of himself and a female passenger in his vehicle.

The spat occurred on Jan 29 this year, and the LTA had summoned the driver for an interview in early February.

An LTA spokesman said: "LTA would like to remind all taxi drivers and private-hire car drivers that they are not allowed to make recordings within their vehicles without LTA's approval or disclose recordings to unauthorised personnel.

"This is to ensure commuter privacy, safety and protection of personal data."

Mr Kamaruzzaman, 49, declined to comment when approached by The Straits Times.

The conditional warning he received would require him to maintain a clean record for the next 12 months.

ST understands that Mr Kamaruzzaman did not chalk up the number of points required under the Vocational Licence Demerit Points System to warrant a revocation of his licence.

A vocational licence may be revoked if the total number of demerit points awarded within 24 months against the holder exceeds 20.

The points system requires taxi drivers and private-hire car drivers to abide by a framework of rules and regulations, and aims to make the process of investigation and imposition of penalties more transparent to both commuters and drivers

Mr Kamaruzzaman had shared a seven-minute clip on the Go-Jek Singapore Community Facebook page on Jan 31, showing a heated exchange with the passenger over the Electronic Road Pricing gantries during a ride.

He had picked her up from Block 251 Bishan Street 22 at about 7am and was to drop her off in Coleman Street.

Mr Kamaruzzaman previously told ST that the passenger started to get upset with him while they were on the Central Expressway.

In the video, which was taken using Mr Kamaruzzaman's mobile phone, the passenger is heard saying "it is clear that you are out to cheat (my) money".

Mr Kamaruzzaman repeatedly says he prefers to settle any issues at a police station.

The car eventually comes to a stop in Lorong 4 Toa Payoh and Mr Kamaruzzaman is seen speaking to a Certis Cisco officer.

At one point in the video, the passenger screams, claiming that Mr Kamaruzzaman has locked the car door on purpose and intends to kidnap her, noting later that he did not want to let her alight from the car when they could not settle their dispute.

In an earlier interview with ST, the passenger said she had made it clear as she got into the car that she wanted to avoid the more expensive route.

"He didn't say if he was okay with that or not and continued to drive. I thought it would be better to clarify with him and told him again that I wouldn't want to go to the more expensive route," the 25-year-old had said.

A Gojek spokesman said in February that a "fair outcome" had been reached between Mr Kamaruzzaman and the passenger, and it considered the matter closed.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.