Thu, Oct 04, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Claw-machine fight leads to jail

By Wang Ting-chuan, Lee Chung-hsien and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

A customer enters an entertainment arcade in New Taipei City on Friday last week. The arcade owner, surnamed Liu, beat a customer, surnamed Liang, on Oct. 23 last year, breaking four of his teeth, after Liang complained about gifts he had won from the claw machines. Liu was sentenced last week to three months in prison.

Photo: Lee Chung-hsien, Taipei Times

A 34-year-old claw-machine enthusiast had four teeth knocked out in a scuffle with an arcade owner over flawed and malfunctioning products, resulting in the latter being sentenced to three months in prison for causing bodily harm.

According to the 34-year-old man from New Taipei City (新北市), identified only by his family name, Liang (梁), his obsession with crane machines began more than a year ago and he had since been frequenting a claw-machine arcade on Nanya W Road Sec 2 in the city’s Banciao District (板橋).

A loyal customer, Liang soon became acquainted with the arcade owner, surnamed Liu (劉).

However, Liang became unhappy after he spent tens of thousands of New Taiwan dollars on crane machines in October last year alone, only to discover that three China-made cellphones he had won did not work.

According to the verdict issued recently by the Banciao District Court, Liang was overwhelmed by anger on Oct. 23 last year when he again discovered that a product he had just won from the claw machines was faulty.

Liang called Liu and yelled obscenities at him, saying that he was “pissed off” because, in addition to the malfunctioning cellphones, the product he had just won was also defective.

“On top of everything, I have spent NT$1,000 on your machines, but still could not grab anything. How are you planning to solve the matter?” Liang was quoted in the verdict as saying.

Some pushing and shoving occurred when Liang rushed to Liu’s shop to ask for an exchange or a refund, the verdict said. Liu then hit Liang over the head with a foldable chair, causing multiple facial and head injuries.

Four false teeth fixed between Liang’s upper left canine and the first molar also fell off during the brawl after a crown fracture of the abutment, while the remaining roots were too short to have fixed false teeth reattached.

Liu also sustained minor injuries to his left cheek.

The two men refused to settle the matter and accused each other in court of causing bodily harm.

During the trial, Liu confessed to the judge and withdrew the charges against Liang, expressing an intention to reach an out-of-court settlement.

However, because Liang rejected the idea of having removable dentures and insisted on receiving dental implants, which are expensive, they failed to reach an agreement on the settlement amount.

Discontent with the ruling, Liang said Liu was willing to give him only NT$30,000 in compensation, which was far less than the estimated NT$300,000 he needed for implants, and that he was likely to file an appeal.

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