Foreigners generally praise Taiwanese for their good manners and respectfulness, however there are assholes everywhere. One of the island’s biggest was inside the Taipei MTR last month and was caught on video bullying and threatening a foreign man and his girlfriend. The shocking video has been played over and over again on local media outlets turning the man into the shame of Taiwan.
The strange story goes that back in October, ten-year Taiwan resident Christopher Raymond Hall and his Taiwanese girlfriend boarded a crowded metro carriage on the Danshui-Xinyi Line. They noticed that a man in a security guard’s uniform was staring at them strangely and mouthing out words, so they tried to covertly move to another carriage. However, the man followed and then launched into an epic tirade of obscenities, racial epithets and insults.
Hall’s girlfriend recorded the whole thing. The man’s main point seemed to be that Hall was “ugly” and a “loser” who had come to Taiwan because he was unable to make it anywhere else. After some back and forth, the man tried his best to get the foreigner to hit him, while continuing to hurl insults both at him:
“You are so ugly… Don’t be too cocky, you better be careful. A lot of people look at you and feel repulsed.”
And his girlfriend:
“The whole of Taiwan despises you, you fucking whore.”
Hall kept the incredibly racist guy talking for around eight minutes while showing admirable restraint. Eventually, he tried to disengage and leave the carriage, but the man blocked his way. Hall once again made himself that he was not interested in a fight and finally the man stepped aside.
Watch the video of the confrontation here, along with commentary from Hall:
Immediately following the incident, Hall filed a report with the police on October 17th, but according to Taipei Police Department Commissioner Chiu Feng-kuang due to a dispute over jurisdiction between the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC) over a week had passed before the police could even begin investigations, and by that point security footage of the incident had already been deleted.
After waiting for three weeks for Taipei police to stop dragging their feet on the issue, Hall went public, posting the video of the confrontation on his YouTube channel on Wednesday. The video has received more than 1 million views. Before Hall’s channel had some 2,000 subscribes, now he’s up to more than 16,000.
The video going viral seems to have finally gotten the police’s attention. While the bully had been careful to at least not say his name into the camera, he didn’t do a great job of covering up the company that he worked for with the firm’s emblem clearly visible above his shirt pocket throughout the interview. The man surnamed Liao was promptly brought in for questioning yesterday on charges of slander and defamation.
During a Taipei City Council question-and-answer session, Councilor Vivian Huang called for improved efficiency in the police force, as well as for improved communication between the police and the TRTC.
As he was arriving at the police station, a gaggle of reporters tried to get Liao to explain what in the world his problem was, asking questions like: “Did you know him? Why are you abusing foreigners? Are you embarrassed? You are embarrassing all of Taiwan.”
Liao was less forthcoming than he had been on the video, opting instead to silently push his way past the microphones and cameras.
Under questioning by police, Liao claimed that Hall had bumped into him and didn’t apologize (Gasp!) and that he had conveniently only become more angry when the couple started recording him. He also expressed regret for causing a scene in public.
It’s not clear at this time if Liao will be charged with any crime for the incident. Local reports say that he has been fired from his job.
Issues of racism in Taiwan are more often than not the product of perceived resentfulness toward foreigners for taking advantage of Taiwanese people or just simple ignorance of what is or is not considered socially acceptable when talking about race.
Here is a popular and insightful video on racial discrimination in Taiwan made by YouTuber Avalon Owens earlier this year in response to a particularly crass music video by a Taiwanese band about foreigners in Taiwan.
By Stanley Yu