Thursday, November 12, 2015

Something to watch out for: racist suit-baiting


This video is disgusting. A worker for ISS, a Danish multinational firm according to From the Night Market, stalks and then insults a foreigner on the metro. This kind of thing is quite uncommon. I do not think this is a mere episode of racist abuse. No, I think the person has chosen the crowded metro on purpose, hoping to bait the foreigner into attacking him in front of witnesses so he can sue him for assault. Courts and police are unlikely to side with the foreigner in this case (skip to the end where the victim explains his problem getting the police to take the case) and the foreigner is likely to have few local connections. ADDED: On Facebook someone noted his emphasis on "Cmon, hit me".

UPDATEISS Facebook page is being wrecked
_______________________
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

So confusing to read "racist" and "Danish" so close together. At least in the recent past, Denmark has been a very tolerant country, though of course, a multinational is not normally a good reflection of anything...

Anonymous said...

His English accent is better than mine. 你沒有東西 "you are nothing," among other insults, like 馬臉 horseface, sounds awkward as Mandarin to me. But it's Taipei, they speak differently there and people get creative when insulting. And then there's the emphasis on the channel, making it sound fishy. But I might be in denial and is trying to otherize the repulsive behavior of this individual who share the categorical label as a Taiwanese with me, and deeply ashamed of the lack of reaction save occasional snickers from the surroundings.

Chris Jackson said...

An interesting take on the incident. I hadn't really thought about this angle but it might be spot on. I don't know if I would have shown as much restraint as the foreigner in the video.

Steven Walker said...

The extreme nature of the incident is uncommon in Taiwan-- sadly, not the sentiment behind it.

Mike Fagan said...

It'd be interesting to get the opinion of a lawyer or two on this.

"Courts and police are unlikely to side with the foreigner in this case..."

Which one? Complaining about it after the fact (with no assault), or once the case has gone to court with the foreigner defending an assault charge?

Question: How could he have sued the foreigner for assault without correctly identifying the foreigner by name and ID number? Even with witnesses there's surely no chance of a case getting off the ground to begin with unless the foreigner could be correctly ID'd?

Even waving that problem away for a moment, there is surely the relevant ambiguity of the threatening manner in which he approached the foreigner. That manner surely gives him some grounds for action in self-defence, as he can't be sure what is about to happen - even if those grounds might not absolve him entirely of an assault charge and he might still have to pay him off with, say NT$30,000.

Anonymous said...

This behaviour constitutes an assault. Anyone - foreigner or not - confronted with behaviour like this on the MRT should use the alarm mechanism and halt the train. In the light of more than one incident on the train including physical attacks and killing of passengers, to raise the alarm using the system provided is the sensible thing to do. Apart from being dismissed by ISS, the individual concerned should face criminal prosecution for assault, or at least threatening behaviour putting someone in fear of assault. If the police don't do it, the foreigner should be able to instigate a private prosecution, or file a civil suit for substantial damages, bering in mind that the evidence bar in a civil suit is lower than a criminal - balance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt.
Here's a report of another incident from The China Post:
http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/local/taipei/2014/12/09/423639/Foreign-college.htm
I can't find any information as to whether there are racial discrimination laws in taiwan which would outlaw hate speech like this.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way as Steven (above), Taiwan promotes itself as a friendly place, but just below the surface their is a simmering racist attitude. It is just the way it is and its going to get worse once the global financial system shits the bed. (lehman x 3 I believe is coming) Many of these internet cafe wisbie drinking gangster nutcases are going to cause trouble when business worsens. (maybe with PRC backing, who knows).

Also, I find it appalling that nobody stepped in to shut the guy up. Yeah, I know people are scared of psychos like this on the MRT because of the knifing last year, but still, a group of Taiwanese guys could have told the guy to back off. I think the other passengers were enjoying it, sad to say.

The foreigner played his cards right. He could have gotten kicked out of Taiwan for punching this loser. I would have decked him.



Vaytw said...

It's the skeptic plus the liberal in me, but I can't help but thinking this guy must be really miserable about something to vent on a stranger like this. Not to mention, we are none of us the same person from moment to moment.

Not a popular position to take in this case, I realize, but I think he's already going to face some serious consequences for this. Last I read he has already been suspended from work. Also the blogger in question has probably gotten a huge popularity surge because of this. I think the collective righteous anger can probably start to recede.

Anonymous said...

https://www.reddit.com/r/taiwan/comments/3sit68/that_racist_guy_was_taken_to_the_police_station/

Anonymous said...

Folks, Chu is having closed-door talks in the US with officials. Let's keep our eye on the ball! The media will keep throwing out pretty candy like this for you to keep you distracted from the real criminal behavior.

Anonymous said...

Most Taiwanese think foreigners are perverts. If you don't know this, you are either in denial or you don't understand hoklo.

Anonymous said...

When I saw this on the news last night (forget which channel) the guy speaking on behalf of the police said it started when the foreigner bumped into him. Some of the other news channels are presenting it this way as well. But if you watch the foreigner's video, that's clearly not what happened. (The guy was just sitting on the other side, creeping out on him and his girlfriend and then stalked them when they moved to another carriage.)

Weird how the "foreigner bumped into me" story is presented as fact but, other than the video, the foreigner's story isn't really presented.

Brian Castle said...

It's sad that Taiwan's laws are such that you can't confront someone like that in a loud and threatening manner. While the guy being picked on probably did the best thing he could in the situation, he came out looking pretty wimpy with all his talk about how anytime he made any effort to defend himself he was doing the wrong thing.

The other disturbing thing is that no one tried to help. No one nearby even said something like "hey why don't you leave them alone" or asked what was going on. It's like what I remember Clarence Thomas saying about his days at school. It didn't bother him that some of the kids made fun of him. It bothered him that nobody said 'shut up'.

Brian Castle said...

I agree with Michael Turton's suspicion that the troublemaker was trying to provoke an attack so he could sue. Said troublemaker seemed to be working hard to provoke a fight while carefully avoiding directly threatening his target. Note that he says a couple times that "other people" would beat up the man.

I'm curious about the potential for a civil case. Doesn't Taiwan have pretty strong libel laws? He called the girl a "whore". That's not a subjective statement and it was made in a very public location in front of a lot of people. Either she's a prostitute or not. So unless he can prove she is it would seem they have an airtight case. Am I right about that?

Anonymous said...

Whatever. This stuff happened to me 3 times a day on the Muni when I lived in SF.

Anonymous said...

There is a predisposition in the courts to find in favor of a Taiwanese national when the suit involves a foreigner and a Taiwanese national. The Taiwanese man in the video seems very confident that even while being filmed and in a public location with many onlookers and potential witnesses, and despite the string of insults he's heaping on the foreign gentleman, which he KNOWS is being recorded, feels very confident that "there's nothing he [the foreigner} can do." This is disturbing. There have been many other court cases between foreigners and Taiwan entities, where despite a preponderance of evidence supporting the foreigner's case, the courts have found in favor of the Taiwanese entity. Apparently, though Taiwan is a beautiful island, and the people for the most part are welcoming and friendly, a foreigner cannot expect justice in the court system. This is perhaps why this man felt free in the presence of so many potential witnesses on a crowded MRT train and knowing he was being recorded to instigate and provoke a dispute. This can be quite damaging to the present perception of Taiwanese people if this type of thing, not just the harassment, but the biased court system, is not addressed.

Alcibiades said...

I wish i could say it was a shock to see that some people have these opinions about foreigners. It is shocking to see someone so comfortable expressing them in such an aggressive, intimidating, gangsterish way in public. The MRT trains are supposed to be a flagship of the city’s modern, progressive, civic identity, but the attacker never hesitated, apparently because he anticipated that nobody would impede him, not the victims, not the train full of bystanders, nor the police after the fact--and he guessed correctly. His only miscalculation was in representing his (foreign) employer by engaging in this assault in his work uniform.

Taiwanese netizens have been admirably loud in their condemnation of ISS Man’s behavior on Youtube and in embarrassing his employers on Facebook, but where were they on the MRT? And why aren't they embarrassing the police?

In the end, the most damage will be sustained by the victims, first at the hands of the ISS Man, and then more grievously by the police which forced the victims to broadcast their humiliation to the world by playing Who’s On First with their case. I haven't seen any news media reports about this nightmare yet, but I can guess their reaction too, essentially that of the bystanders writ large.

Anonymous said...

Seeing as this asshole works for a foreign-owned firm, I wonder whether he likewise stalks and insults the expatriate staff members.

Others ought to be aware that even flipping someone off in public can lead to prosecution according to local law, yet the police have not lifted a finger.

Unknown said...

This also happened to me and my wife on the mrt. Wish I made a vido too.

Harry Matthew said...

Taiwanese will either:

1) deny racism exists in Taiwan

2) justify it because foreigner xyz or country xyz is more racist

3) assume the incident was the "loser" foreigner causing trouble

Sandra said...

what i can say about like this video really amazing