Feud over high phone bills ends up with prosecutors

By Ho Po-ching and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sat, Feb 02, 2013 - Page 5

Young people’s addiction to smartphones and wireless gadgets these days has become a cause of family feuds in Taiwan, but few have gone as far as that of a woman in her 20s who filed charges late last year against her father over her phone number.

The woman accused her father of forgery when he changed the registration of her mobile phone number from her name to his.

Called in by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, the father, a university professor, said he had applied for a mobile number for his daughter, but only put the account in her name three years ago. He said his daughter had not been able to find a job since graduating from school, and spent most of her time talking to friends on the phone.

Her monthly bill, which he paid, was usually more than NT$10,000, though one reached NT$28,000.

Last year he took two of his daughter’s ID cards so he could change the phone number back to his name and register for a monthly package with a set limit on calls, in an attempt to curb his daughter’s use of the phone, he told prosecutors.

“I cannot believe she would sue me because of this,” he said.

Checking the telephone company’s records, prosecutors verified that the father had been the original registrant and that the monthly phone bills had been very large. They also found that the father had used his daughter’s ID cards to change registration, but they decided it was not likely the father had been able to take the IDs without her permission.

Prosecutors also found that the woman had discovered the change of registration in May last year, but did not file a police complaint until six months later.

Prosecutors decided not to file charges against the father.