Yesterday evening a mainland Chinese tourist travelling to Taiwan with her mother was beaten by several Taiwanese men. The 40-year-old woman had booked a trip for 8 days and 7 nights through a Taiwanese travel agency paying 3900 RMB (about 500 Euros, or 20,000 NTD). She and the other members of the tourist group come from Zhengzhou (鄭州 / 郑州) in China’s Henan Province.
Yesterday, while she was shopping outside of their hotel in the hot spring area of Zhiben (知本, spelt Chihpen in Taiwan), about 15km from Taidong, she heard people screaming behind her. At first she didn’t pay attention to it, but then 5, 6 men surrounded her. Among them were the bus driver, the tour guide and the group leader she had been travelling with. “They were pointing at their noises, talking in Taiwanese,” said the woman later to journalists. “Then the tour guide came. I asked him what was going on. But he ignored my question.“
The men punched and kicked the woman several times, until a friend of hers intervened. The two of them managed to escape to a convenience store on the opposite side of the road. “Call the police!” screamed the woman. The shop assistant locked the door to prevent the men from entering. “I’ll call the police!” shouted the woman. “Do it! I’m not afraid!” answered the tour guide.
|Zhiben hot spring (source: Wikipedia, uploaded by Koika)|
According to the woman, the dispute arose over the amount of money she and other mainland tourists from her group had spent during their stay. According to Ettoday, the tour guide, the bus driver and the group leader have agreements with local stores: they take mainland tourist there and see to it that they buy things. This is the main source of income for the three men. However, this time the tourists were not spending enough. Yesterday evening, the three men met to have a few drinks. Then they saw a member of the tourist group who had gone out shopping. They became furious, surrounded and beat her.
Interviewed by the media, the woman said: “Yesterday the group leader complained that we didn’t spend enough time in the shop and that he had been criticised by the bus driver. He asked us to be more cooperative. So today we were very well-behaved. But the jewels in the shop were too expensive, so I didn’t want to buy any.” The group had been taken to a jewellery in Kaohsiung.
Because the woman was afraid the tour guide would get angry if she didn’t stay long enough, she spent an hour in the shop. When she went out, nobody was there and the shop staff had to call the tour guide to pick her up. She had to wait in the hot summer weather without even having something to drink. “I didn’t spend much“, she said. “I just bought some fruits to eat. The other people didn’t spend much, either.“
She was asked by a journalist if she wanted to continue travelling. “I‘d rather stay at the police station,” she replied. “I’m too frightened.”
However, according to Apple Daily there is another explanation that is currently being examined by the authorities. There seems to have been a dispute between the tour guides and the woman. The latter had allegedly left the group and joined a Taiwanese friend of hers. But according to Taiwan’s regulations mainland visitors travelling through travel agencies must remain with their group for a fixed amount of time. A journalist from the newspaper today went to the travel agency (世通旅行社) to ask for more details about the incident, but the agency refused to issue an official statement or to answer the journalist’s questions.
The bus driver and the tour guide have apologised to the victim, saying that they had become impulsive after drinking alcohol.