Firefighting couple tries to blackmail McDonald's out of NT$70.6 million

Couple from fire department try to use their position to extort NT$70.6 million from McDonald's for son's broken arm

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A firefighter and his wife, also an employee at the New Taipei City Fire Department, allegedly tried to extort NT$70.6 million dollars (US$2,325,275) out of local McDonald's for their son's broken arm and safety violations, according to the Taoyuan Prosecutors Office. 

On March 30, the four-year-old son of a Taoyuan firefighter, Tsai I-lang (蔡一郎), and his wife, Huang Ying-hui (黃櫻惠), also an employee at the fire department, broke his arm when he fell off the slide on the second floor playground of a McDonald's in Tucheng District, in New Taipei City. The couple demanded that the branch of the burger chain pay compensation for his injuries and the store promised to improve safety on the playground and cover his medical expenses. 

However, the couple was not satisfied and allegedly used their administrative access to government records on at the McDonald's store in Tucheng, as well as other branches in Taoyuan, Taibei, New Taipei City, Pingtung, Hualien, and Taitung that were in violation of fire safety and building codes and urban planning regulations. They then allegedly sent a threatening letter to these branches to pay them compensation or face being exposed or reported.

In the letters to these branches, Tsai allegedly wrote that if McDonald's sent the compensation before the end of June, the amount would be reduced to NT$60 million (of which NT$5 million could be in the form of meal coupons), however their extortion scheme was reported to authorities. 

After prosecutors were made aware of the incident, they carried out a search of the couple's place of employment and residence where they found improperly searched digital records and documents related to the McDonald's blackmail case. The two have been terminated from their positions in the fire department and have been summoned to appear in court. 

Regarding the incident, a McDonald's spokesperson said, "The incident is under investigation by the government and the McDonald's will cooperate fully with authorities. However, it is not convenient to comment on the relevant circumstances of a case that is still under investigation."