Big lottery win leads to family feud

By Shen Chi-chang and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Fri, Feb 08, 2013 - Page 1

Winning the top prize in a lottery is a joyous occasion for most, but for one Taiwanese family the payout fueled unbridled greed and squabbles, causing a 26-year-old son to be charged with theft for allegedly stealing the winning receipt.

A man surnamed Kao (高) who lives in Longtan Township (龍潭), Taoyuan County, visited a local supermarket to buy a NT$24 “Hello Kitty” ID card pouch on Nov. 11 last year. The 57-year-old returned home and put the receipt into a green plastic box.

The Uniform Invoice lottery draw was held on Jan. 25 and the following day, Kao’s daughter checked the family’s receipts box for winning numbers.

Kao’s 26-year-old son returned home that day and helped his sister with the task.

Working odd jobs, the son is married and lives with his wife in nearby Pingjhen (平鎮).

The son found that the numbers on the receipt matched all eight digits to claim the top prize.

“We won the top prize of NT$10 million [US$340,000],” he shouted.

Thinking he was joking, the sister retorted: “You are becoming crazy about money.”

“It’s for real. If you don’t believe me, then you don’t get a share of the prize money,” the son said.

As the two argued, the father walked in.

He verified the numbers and confirmed that they had won.

“Dad, how are we going to divide the money?” the son asked.

The father said the amount would be divided equally and put the receipt back in the box.

Later, the son again asked about his share.

This time, the father said he had changed his mind.

“I will give you NT$100,000. In addition, I will buy you a luxury car,” he said.

Hearing this, the son felt let down, claiming that it was not fair and that the money should be divided equally.

However, the father did not agree with the suggestion.

On Saturday morning, the father went to check the plastic box, only to realize that the winning receipt was missing. He asked his wife and daughter, and both said they did not take it.

The father telephoned his son, but got no answer.

The father then called his daughter-in-law and his granddaughter, who also did not answer the telephone.

At that point, the father suspected that his son must have stolen the winning receipt.

Angered, he called the police, who called the son in for questioning.

After admitting taking the receipt, the son said: “My father promised to divide the prize money equally, but the next day, he said he would only give me NT$100,000 and a car.”

“I was only going to collect the prize money. Then I would have divided the money equally among our family,” the son said.

Nevertheless, the father sued his son for theft.

The 26-year-old said he regretted the whole affair.

A police official said that theft charges between immediate family members belong to a category of offenses that can only be prosecuted when a complaint is received from the victim.

Despite getting back the stolen receipt from the police, the father is still upset and has not dropped the charges.

The police official said the father could withdraw the complaint up until the point where prosecutors have completed legal proceedings.