Uber has suspended a driver in Australia while police investigate allegations that he told a passenger he led an organisation related to the militant Islamic State (IS) group and planned to blow up Parliament House, the ride-hailing company said Monday.
The passenger, a woman who declined to be identified out of fear for her safety, said on Monday she was heading home from downtown Canberra after a night out with friends when she caught an Uber early Sunday morning.
The woman said the driver said he was from Pakistan and asked if she had “ever eaten human flesh.”
He said he planned to blow up a Canberra shopping mall as well as Parliament House and told her he was not taking her to her home on Canberra’s outskirts but to the town of Cooma, 100 kilometres to the south, the woman said.
She said she told the driver to pull over at a gas station so she could use the toilet, and called the police emergency number from there. Two police cars arrived about 10 minutes later, she said.
Police said they searched the Uber car but found nothing suspicious. Police drove the woman home and did not arrest the driver.
“Police conducted initial background checks and established there was no threat to the public or the complainant,” a police statement said.
It said an investigation of the woman’s allegations was continuing with the involvement of national police and security agencies.
The driver’s access to the Uber app was restricted when the company became aware of the allegations, Uber said.
“We’ll continue liaising with the police as the allegations are assessed,” Uber said in a statement.
The woman said police told her the driver didn’t dispute her accusations but explained to them “he was just trying to wind me up. —AP