Zhong Yuan, a 28-year-old carpool driver who raped and killed a 19-year-old female passenger in Wenzhou in August, was sentenced to death on Friday.
The Wenzhou Intermediate People’s Court on Friday heard the case on camera and sentenced Zhong to death on charges of robbery, rape and homicide.
Zhong, a native of Sichuan province, had owed debts from online peer-to-peer lending platforms due to gambling, and deliberately planned on robbing female passengers while working as a Hitch driver for Didi Chuxing, the nation’s largest ride-hailing company.
On Aug 23, Zhong sought to rob a female passenger during a ride, but his efforts failed. The following day, he raped and killed another female passenger surnamed Zhao with a knife in Yueqing county of Wenzhou, and dumped her body on a slope over the edge of a cliff near the highway.
The case stirred up a national outcry to effectively strengthen passengers’ personal safety during online ride-hailing trips, prompting the Ministry of Transport to announce plans to enhance regulation of the ride-hailing industry.
Didi Chuxing suspended its Hitch services nationwide after the case.