A couple days ago, a Chinese woman surnamed Liang reportedly slapped a duty-free worker at LAX twice over a missing credit card. Since then, eyewitness accounts have been posted online that question the original narrative of the “slaps.”
According to initial reports, Liang went to the checkout counter at the duty-free shop to pay, only to find out that she could get a discount if she bought more stuff. While searching around for more things to buy, she realized that she had accidentally forgot her card at the counter. She questioned the ethnically Chinese cashier, who also didn’t know where it went. After searching around and finally finding the card, the cashier was slapped twice across the face by Liang.
However, an eyewitness has since reached out to @USA美国那些事儿, a Weibo account, providing a different version of the story, stating that the person “slapped” wasn’t the only victim in the situation. The eyewitness claims that Liang didn’t actually slap the worker, only “tapping her on the head,” and that the duty-free worker was in fact attempting to steal Liang’s credit card. A snapshot of that account is posted below:
I’m not sure what happened exactly when the worker swiped her card to check out because I only got there afterwards. Previously, I said that her card was gone because I heard the conversation between the two. What I saw was Liang asking the lady to see security camera footage in order to find her card. [The lady refused and insisted that Liang cancel her card] Then, Liang used my phone to call someone, and right in the middle of the call, the lady said she found the card in a crack in the counter. Liang was a bit emotional at this point and tapped the head of the worker. Before she tapped the worker’s head, Liang said something that I can’t remember now. Anyway, the worker started crying and said that she’ll call the police. Liang and the man profusely apologized and comforted her and the manager of the store came over. I got my phone back and left when the police came.
I think Liang definitely shouldn’t have hit the worker, but the worker has to be responsible for the customer’s cards.
Meanwhile, even more eyewitness accounts of the incident (in the apparently very popular duty-free shop) have been posted online. A Shanghaiist reader was apparently also at the shop and posted his version of the story in a comment under our original article:
I was at the Duty free shop with my wife (who is Chinese). My wife was waiting in line to pay for liquor when she heard the clerk tell the lady she could get a discount if she bought more merchandise. The lady stepped 5 feet away and picked up a small item, but when she tried to pay for it the rude clerk told her to get at the end of the line. The lady said her plane was boarding and the clerk called her “stupid” in Mandarin. The lady asked for her credit card back and the clerk told her it was missing and probably stolen.
I saw the lady trying to make a phone call but apparently she had no signal in the Bradley terminal. She borrowed the phone from another lady in line and was calling a number, which, according to my wife, was to report the card stolen. Her husband was yelling at her that the plane was boarding and she was becoming very upset. The clerk then came over and said she had put the credit card under the machine and forgot it was there. The lady called the clerk a bad name and the clerk began yelling at her. The lady they lightly slapped the clerk twice on the cheek and there was obviously no injury. The clerk began laughing and speaking in Mandarin. My wife said she called the lady more bad names. The matter was over. No one was hurt. But the cops stormed down like a murder had happened. Both of these people were wrong, but it was not the crime of the century and the idiot clerk could have shown respect to the lady whom she put through hell trying to report her credit card stolen. This duty free shop is now the last place I would go. All the people that work there are rude.
Since the release of the other side of the story, most netizens have jumped to Liang’s defense and condemned the media for not doing a better job of protecting Chinese people. On Weibo, the thread #Tourist slaps worker at American Airport# has gone viral with over 4.7 million views.
“Why do reporters make Chinese people look bad?” @起灵归柩 wrote.
“The worker clearly tried to steal Liang’s credit card,” @Qiierrr wrote.
“Why did everyone criticize the lady? Why not mention foreigners trying to take advantage of her? The worker saw Liang’s old age and tried to trick her. Chinese people always like to think the worst of other Chinese people,” @王鑫鑫鑫aaamm wrote.
Meanwhile, other web users have speculated that the duty-free worker is part of a vast international credit card stealing network operating in the US and Australia.
So, what actually happened? Was it another unruly tourist or was it the world’s worst credit card thief?
Guess we’ll leave it to the judge to decide. Liang is back in China. The court date for her hearing has not yet been announced, but her lawyer has said that he will make a plea of not guilty.
By Sarah Lin
[Images via Weibo]