Documents, computers and iPads were confiscated in the raid on two offices, of which at least one belonged to Uber. Three Uber employees have been released on bail after a raid on the company’s Hong Kong offices in a probe into its illegal operations within the autonomous Chinese territory.

Five drivers were also arrested on Tuesday over the “illegal use of vehicles for hire” after undercover police used the Uber app to hail five cars, arresting the drivers after being driven to their destinations.

Hong Kong police senior inspector, Bruce Hung said the drivers lacked the required hire car permits or third party insurance.

An Uber spokesman for North Asia said: “We stand by our driver-partners 100% and welcome the opportunity to work closely with the authorities towards updated regulations that put the safety and interests of riders and drivers first.”

The company spokesman continued: “Uber ensures that all rides are covered by insurance, and all drivers on the platform undergo an extensive background check,” .

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Asia expansion

The raids come as Uber pursues aggressive expansion across Asia, including China where it is a comparative latecomer and has met resistance from local operators. In May, Chinese authorities raided Uber’s offices on suspicion of it running an “unlicensed operation”.

Asia provides Uber with a large opportunity for expanding its user base, which is still dominated by customers in the US. The number of mobile taxi-hailing app users within China, for instance, is forecast to hit 45 million by the end of this year, according to Chinese research firm iResearch.

The $51bn-valued Uber recently invested $1bn into an expansion within India and 1.3 billion population, which is only narrowly behind the 1.4 billion people living in China. For comparison the US only has 322 million people living within its borders.

The company is seeing a 40% month-on-month growth rate within India and expects the number of Uber rides per day within the country to surpass the US in the near future. That’s despite local competition operating within more than 100 towns and cities across the country.

Uber has more than 150,000 drivers on its books within India and operates within the largest cities, with plans to expand to many of the smaller cities within the next year.

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