Sun, Nov 10, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese scalded in meat factory

FRIENDS’ FURY:Friends of a man badly burned in Australia are angry at what they say is poor treatment after the company billed him for the emergency flight

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

A 23-year-old Taiwanese on a working holiday in Australia received burns to the lower half of his body at a meat-processing factory after he fell in into boiling water on Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

His life is not in danger and the ministry arranged for his parents to arrive in Australia yesterday morning to take care of him, ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said.

The Chinese-language Apple Daily first reported the story yesterday, saying friends of the man, surnamed Hsiao (蕭), provided it with details of the incident because they were angry at the way the factory and Hsiao’s employment agency treated him.

According to the Apple Daily, Hsiao, who works in the slaughter department of T&R Pastoral, a meat-processing factory in South Australia, was ordered to wash hanging hooks alone in the boiler room at 6pm on Wednesday when he slipped into a bath of boiling water in a 1.8m deep cauldron.

Hsiao was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, 78km from the factory, for emergency treatment as he was severely burned over a large area of the lower half of his body. T&R Pastoral has billed Hsiao A$50,000 (US$47,168) for the transportation cost, Apple Daily reported.

A person with a Chinese-invested employment agency named by Hsiao’s friends as “Little Chou” quickly turned them down when they sought his help and told them that the fee was regarded as out-of-pocket expenses, it reported.

According to the Apple Daily report, most of the young Taiwanese hired by T&R Pastoral were black-market working holidaymakers, defined as those who receive payments in cash rather than through direct deposits into a bank account associated with a tax number as required by the Australian Taxation Office.

There have been cases of Taiwanese working holidaymakers taking black-market jobs even though they know the pay is not as good and they will not be enrolled in an insurance program because the job market in Australia for people on working-holiday visas is very competitive.

According to data compiled by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Canberra issued 35,000 working holiday visas to Taiwanese between July last year and June this year, a year-on-year growth of 59 percent, making Taiwan the second-largest source of working holidaymakers in Australia, behind the UK.

In a press release later yesterday, the ministry said that the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia has encouraged Taiwanese living near the Adelaide hospital to visit Hsiao and that the office will continue to assist him and his family.

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