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Blogger jailed over critical restaurant review

robert's picture

Quick summary: A blogger criticized a restaurant in a blog post and has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined NT$200,000. Discuss.

Here's the whole story:

OBJECTIVITY:The judge said the blogger should not have criticized the restaurant’s food as ‘too salty’ in general, because she had eaten dried noodles and two side dishes

By Lin Liang-che / Staff Reporter
The Taichung branch of Taiwan High Court on Tuesday sentenced a blogger who wrote that a restaurant’s beef noodles were too salty to 30 days in detention and two years of probation and ordered her to pay NT$200,000 in compensation to the restaurant.

The blogger, surnamed Liu (劉), writes about a variety of topics — including food, health, interior design and lifestyle topics — and has received more than 60,000 hits on her Web site.

After visiting a Taichung beef noodle restaurant in July 2008, where she had dried noodles and side dishes, Liu wrote that the restaurant served food that was too salty, the place was unsanitary because there were cockroaches and that the owner was a “bully” because he let customers park their cars haphazardly, leading to traffic jams.

The restaurant’s owner, surnamed Yang (楊), learned about Liu's blog post from a regular customer, and filed charges against her, accusing her of defamation.

The Taichung District Court ruled that Liu's criticism of the restaurant exceeded reasonable bounds and sentenced her to 30 days in detention, a ruling that Liu appealed.

The High Court found that Liu's criticism about cockroaches in the restaurant to be a narration of facts, not intentional slander.

However, the judge also ruled that Liu should not have criticized all the restaurant’s food as too salty because she only had one dish on her single visit.

Health officials who inspected the restaurant did not find conditions to be as unsanitary as Liu had described, so the High Court also ruled that Liu must pay NT$200,000 to the owner for revenues lost as a result of her blog post.

The ruling is final.

Liu has apologized to the restaurant for the incident.

Yang said he filed the charges because Liu's negative comments about his restaurant led many customers to call him to ask if her review was true.
He said he hoped the case would teach her a lesson.

Huang Cheng-lee (黃呈利), a lawyer in Taichung, said that bloggers who post food reviews should remember to be truthful in their commentary and supplement their comments with photographs to protect themselves.
He also said bloggers should be objective and fair in their writing.

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robert's picture

I read this report very

I read this report very carefully to see if the platform that the blogger was using could be blamed. No mention. Y'all keep your negative posts on other sites until we get this free speech thing cleared up, hear?

Also, if you do feel like adding a review, head on over to

Jazz's picture

If you are gonna hate on a

If you are gonna hate on a restaurant, back it up with photo evidence and don't make blanket statements regarding the sodium levels of the food. 

On a separate note, I didn't realize that they had a board of health or anything like that.  Having food on the curb must be unhealthy with all of the exhaust and what not.  Anyway, that's not the point of this story.  The point is you had better try all of the dishes at a restaurant before you decide to say that they have salty food. 

Neotribe's picture

  Taiwan never ceases to


Taiwan never ceases to amaze me.

Speaking of ceasing to amaze

Speaking of ceasing to amaze me. I read this article the other day about Taiwanese men complaining that their foreign brides that they paid for, ran away after these men stopped giving money to send back to their wife's families.

It continued on about how these women that are purchased don't really love their buyers... sorry I mean husbands and that these women are actually only in it for the money.

It was nice how the journalist claimed that the husbands were victims after being beating their spouses.


Article Attached

Abuse claims used for ID cards
SHORTCUT:Activists said jilted husbands are often the real victims when foreign brides set them up as abusers and then disappear as soon as they have ID cards

As it takes up to four years for immigrant spouses — and six years for immigrant spouses from China — to obtain Republic of China (ROC) national ID cards, a social welfare group said it has discovered that some such partners have falsely reported themselves as domestic abuse victims so they could get divorced and yet be able to stay in Taiwan to work.

“My Vietnamese wife only thought of me as a money maker, and as soon as she discovered that I had no more money, she left me, and left the children to me,” a man surnamed Huang (黃) said.

According to Tsai Chun-yu (蔡濬宇), the head of a single-parent family assistance group “Kangaroo and Penguins’ Home,” Huang’s case is not an isolated one.

He said that some immigrant spouses would upset their Taiwanese husbands on purpose, hoping that their husbands would beat them. If that happened, they would then apply for a protection order from the court and later apply for residency.

Tsai said that out of the more than 100 single-parent families they have worked with, about 70 percent of transnational marriages ended in divorce. Among the divorces, “intentionally triggered domestic abuse” was an important cause.

Chen Hsin-nian (陳新年), 70, said he spent NT$300,000 (US$10,000) so his son could marry a Vietnamese woman nicknamed Hsiao Fen (小芬). At first, Fen was very nice and he gave her NT$10,000 per month to wire back home. After Fen gave birth to two children, he stopped giving her a monthly allowance because of the increased financial burden. Unexpectedly, Fen “created” a case of domestic abuse and left home as soon as she obtained her national ID card, never to return, he said.

“Fen came to Taiwan only for money,” Chen said.

Huang Chi (黃吉), 60, said that her Vietnamese daughter-in-law did not “create” domestic abuse, but she left home as soon as she obtained her national ID and took NT$80,000 from the family bank account before leaving.

Tsai said that after so many years of working with single--parent families, she found Taiwanese men to be in a very pitiful state, since in many cases they are the real victims, but are considered perpetrators under the law.

A judge at the Keelung District Court, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he has noticed this phenomenon as well. The judge said that immigrant spouses who accused their partners of abuse would always bring injury diagnosis certificates with them so judges then have to issue protection orders. When the immigrant spouses get the -order, they can apply for long-term residency from the National Immigration Agency.

When they get their residency, the judge said, they would file for divorce with the court, and these divorces are often approved because of the injury diagnosis and the husbands admit to the abuse.

Tsai said such cases not only happened among marriages where one spouse was from Southeast Asia, but also when one was from from China.

She said that one Chinese immigrant spouse nicknamed Hsiao Li (小麗) admitted to her that she took the “shortcut” because she didn’t want to wait six years for her ROC national ID card.

robert's picture

If by "Taiwan never ceases

If by "Taiwan never ceases to amaze me" you mean, "this practically happened to me", I completely agree. Remember that fiasco on the other bulletin with a school that MUST NOT BE NAMED? That's why this case spooked me.

Unless they reformed the

Unless they reformed the law. I believe Taiwan law states that a woman cannot divorce her husband on the grounds of domestic abuse or battery until she has been hospitalized for the third time.

So these men claiming victim did a number of their wives multiple times and are still claiming they are innocent.

Only in Taiwan!

Third time hospitalized?

Third time hospitalized? That sounds about what I'd expect from Taiwan. Does anyone have a link for these laws in English?

Jazz's picture

3rd time is a charm? 

3rd time is a charm?  Wow.  Reminds me of the rule of thumb:  a law that limited the maximum thickness of a stick with which it was permissible for a man to beat his wife.

The good old days were fun, weren't they? 

I mentioned this debacle to

I mentioned this debacle to one of my private students yesterday. He replied that he in fact was in the process of being sued for $500,000NT. He tried to return a juice he had purchased from a vendor after he discovered a mosquito in it. The vendor replied that the mosquito must have landed in the drink after it had been purchased and basically told my student to off.
The guy, understandably pissed off, went home and related the incident on his blog.
He is now one of 32 people being sued by this for libel.
The most entertaining (or exasperating) part of this situation is the demand by the courts for "evidence". This is almost 6 months after the incident, and he is expected to provide the juice that he purchased as evidence, like he kept it in his freezer in anticipation of possibly being sued half a year down the road. Insanity.

You would think 32 vs 1

You would think 32 vs 1 would be enough evidence to win a case.

That is like having 32 witnesses and the defendant still getting away with a crime.

oh wait....Only in Taiwan

I will now open up a crappy restaurant and brag how great my food is hoping that people complain and then i can sue them.

Neotribe's picture

  I was talking to a


I was talking to a friend today that knows a girl that had a similar thing happen. She was watching a movie and this guy kept talking on his cellphone. After giving him several dirty looks, he did not take the hint and she finally told him to shut the F*** up. He then freaked out, stormed out, returned with an usher and demanded an apology. He seemed to think he was an important person and should not be talked down to by a lowly commoner. She refused to apologize because he had ruined the movie. So he called the police. She was then arrested for using foul language in public.

Does anyone have a link or

Does anyone have a link or is there someplace I can find Taiwanese laws written in English. I bet there are a few hilarious ones.

Danny was arrested in Yong-Kang county for not bowing properly.

This occurred shortly after his release, after being arrested for using chopsticks with his left hand.

robert's picture

NOT AGAIN! Second blogger


Second blogger faces legal mess for food review

I hate this "Yes, we have free speech...but..."

My good man, surely you

My good man, surely you jest!

These people are utterly

These people are utterly insane. heard the one yet about the 1800NT fine for giving someone the finger? True.

I won't mention names,

I won't mention names, but I called someone who was drunk and whom had just fallen off his bar-stool a drunk. A few days later I was threatened with a lawsuit, but the case lacked proof and was never taken to court.

PS..Rhinobox. Calling someone "insane" that legally isn't will land you a nice charge of defamation of character and slander.

Especially if they lose face in the process. $200 000 charge for losing face, but only $100 000 maximum charge for putting someone in the hospital with a hit or multiple hits to the facial region.

I guess Taiwan encourages beating people up?

Go to the following links

Go to the following links and you will know what really happened.

The blogger was sued because of the words she chose to use in her blog post. There was no mention of beef noodles being too salty.

robert's picture

Thanks for more insight into

Thanks for more insight into this, Sue. Certainly good to hear that the tussle was over more than simply a difference in taste preferences. I'll just leave this here then:

Neotribe's picture

  Thanks Sue. Very


Thanks Sue. Very interesting to read.

Suing someone for calling

Suing someone for calling you Auntie? Must have been the worst defense lawyer in history!

I have some concerns about

I have some concerns about the finger rule. I might have used it before in Taiwan and wonder... If a car runs a red-light and almost hits me and I give them the finger. If they charge me with this can I counter-charge the car's driver with attempted murder? I agree flicking off an ambulance and such is just poor form but there seems to be a time and place for everything (though I think your third visit to the hospital is a bit past time AND place).

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