Taiwan's legislature on Friday ratcheted up the pressure on ride-sharing company Uber by significantly raising the maximum fine for illegally providing passenger transportation services.
An amendment to the Highway Act means anyone caught driving for Uber can now be fined as much as 25 million Taiwanese dollars (783,000 US dollars). Currently, the maximum fine is 150,000 Taiwan dollars (4,700 US dollars), Central News Agency reported.
In addition, anyone found in violation of the law could lose their driving licence and have their vehicle registration either terminated or suspended for four months to a year.
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the revised act is possibly to take effect in the middle of next year after other measures needed are established.
Uber said late Friday the legislature made a rushed decision, taken without consultation.
"We are very disappointed to see the Legislative Yuan pass the amendment bill raising fines against driver-partners on the Uber app to the largest anywhere in the world," Uber said in a statement sent to the media.
"It threatens the interests of tens of thousands of driver-partners and more than one million Taiwanese who have downloaded the Uber app," Uber said.
Uber, which now has more than 10,000 drivers in Taiwan, registered in the country four years ago as an information services company. For years, it has been accused of illegally providing passenger transportation services and of tax evasion.
Uber said over 100 cities, regions and countries have already passed ride-sharing regulations that provide a framework for the industry to flourish.