Bus drivers allegedly beat visiting Chinese woman amid argument
Central News Agency
2014-07-31 10:59 PM
Taipei, July 31 (CNA) Taiwan's Tourism Bureau confirmed Thursday that two tour bus drivers in Taitung County hit a woman from China Wednesday amid an argument allegedly centered on her unwillingness to buy merchandise from travel agency-affiliated shops. The bureau is investigating the matter and has summoned representatives from travel agency that employed the drivers to give an explanation, according to the bureau's Deputy Director Chang Hsi-tsung. Local TV news reported earlier in the day that the bus drivers were upset because the tourist had not bought anything at shopping centers along the tour route and dissuaded other tourists from making purchases, depriving the drivers and their company of commissions. Chang did not confirm that was the cause of the argument. He said his initial understanding is that the incident resulted from an argument between the bus drivers and the woman over her frequent requests to leave the tour group ever since she arrived in Taiwan on July 26. Chinese visitors in tour groups are permitted to leave the group for only one-third of their total time in Taiwan and are required to provide the telephone number of a local contact when they do so, he explained. Chang said that she got into a verbal fight with two bus drivers in front of a convenience store by a hotel when the two were discussing her bad manners. The drivers began hitting her on the head, witnesses said. Chang said their actions could constitute a criminal offense and that his bureau will look into whether the local tour guide reported the matter to the police immediately after it occurred. Chen Shu-hui, director-general of the Taitung County Government Tourism Department, said that as far as she knew, the driver of the bus carrying the victim complained to other drivers that in five days, the only thing she had bought was fruit, and she made repeated requests to leave the group to see a friend, who had been following the tour bus around the country in his own car. The victim and her friend happened to hear their complaints and an argument ensued, Chen said. Members of the tour group said that the friend had reminded the victim not to buy anything at shopping stops arranged by the travel agent, and she conveyed the message to other members of the group, Chen said. Each of the 15-member group was charged less than NT$20,000 (US$665) for the 8-day trip and were expected to make up the losses for the tour operator by shopping at designated stores, according to Chen. The woman has reported her case to Taitung police and said she will bring a lawsuit against the two drivers who beat her, according to Chen. The Tourism Bureau said it will hold those responsible accountable. (Wang Shu-fen, Tyson Lu and Evelyn Kao)
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