|Firefighters put out a fire in a taxi near Gwanghwamun Station in central Seoul, Wednesday. The taxi driver set his car and himself on fire to protest the introduction of ridesharing services. The fire was contained within six minutes, but the driver died Thursday morning while being treated in hospital. / Yonhap|
By Jung Hae-myoung
A taxi driver died Thursday morning, after setting himself and his car on fire to protest against a ridesharing service which the government plans to allow.
This was the second case of a driver burning himself to death to protest the service to be offered by Kakao Mobility.
According to police, the 64-year-old driver, surnamed Lim, set fire to his car while he was sitting in it on a street near Gwanghwamun Station in central Seoul at around 6 p.m.
The fire was contained within six minutes, and a severely injured Lim was sent to Hallym University Medical Center, where he died early Thursday morning.
Police found an oil container inside his car.
"A burnt diary was found inside the taxi. There was a note for the family in the diary that could be considered as his will," a police officer said.
In the note, Lim complained about his hardship living as a taxi driver and expressed opposition to the ridesharing service, according to police.
Lim's colleagues said he was one of most active protesters against the ridesharing service, and participated in every rally held since December. Before setting the fire, Lim sent them a record of his opposition to the service.
"He was full of resentment when he talked, saying 'we are all going to die,'" said Park Kwon-soo, head of Korea National Joint Conference of Taxi Associations.
The group and other taxi drivers' and operators' organizations plan to stage a strike and a massive rally as early as next week.
On Dec. 10, a 57-year-old surnamed Choi set himself on fire in front of the National Assembly on Yeouido, Seoul.
After his death and following a massive demonstration, Kakao Mobility postponed the official launch of its ridesharing service indefinitely.