Comedian launches petition after suffering burns

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Oct 09, 2013 - Page 5

Taiwanese comedian Kuo Tzu-chien (郭子乾) launched a petition on Saturday after his claim for damages from a Seoul hotel where he suffered severe burns due to a malfunctioning water boiler were rejected by a South Korean court.

Backed by the Taiwan Victim Human Rights Association, the 49-year-old aims to collect 10,000 signatures to demand justice and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, he said.

“As a victim, I would like to share my painful experience and urge anyone facing a similar situation to report to local police immediately,” Kuo said.

He added that he was not trying to stir up anti-Korean sentiment, but rather “to protest the irresponsible behavior of the hotel and the bias of the South Korean court.”

The entertainer says he suffered burns over 80 percent of his left thigh early last year after boiling hot water leaked out of a hot water pot at the high-end Ramada Hotel and Suites Seoul Namdaemun.

Kuo was offered NT$80,000 (US$2,700) by the hotel to cover his medical costs, but a suit demanding NT$7.8 million in compensation was dismissed by a South Korean court, which suggested that his claims may have been fraudulent.

His injuries caused him to lose about NT$500,000 in earnings because he had to cancel several projects during his 20-day recovery period, he said.

Calling the South Korean court’s allegations of fraud “insulting,” Kuo said he will continue appealing “until justice is served.”

Kuo’s petition was endorsed by more than 2,000 people, including lawmakers and celebrities, just two hours after its launch, the Taiwan Victim Human Rights Association said.