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Taiwan convenience chain says it will not confront maskless shoppers after deadly assault

Following assaults against store clerks over mask-wearing, Hi-Life tells workers not to remind customers for their own safety

Hi-Life clerk handing masks to customer. (Hi-Life photo)

Hi-Life clerk handing masks to customer. (Hi-Life photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In the wake of multiple assaults against convenience store clerks over the mask requirement, Hi-Life announced on Monday (Nov. 22) that its employees no longer have to remind shoppers to wear a mask or intervene if they refuse to.

The announcement comes after a young 7-Eleven clerk was stabbed to death by a shopper who became enraged when the employee reminded him to wear a mask.

Only one month ago, another maskless man threw punches at a clerk and a customer in a Hi-Life store in Taoyuan. He was later arrested and investigated for the charges of assault and endangering public safety.

That same week, a clerk on his late-night shift at a convenience store in Taichung was brutally beaten by a drunk male customer without a mask. The clerk suffered broken ribs and a concussion.

Another high-profile assault took place in late September in Pingtung. After a young female clerk asked a 50-year-old man to wear his mask properly, he severely injured her.

The 29-year-old woman has been hospitalized for weeks since the brutal assault that may result in some vision loss. Her family told the media that she is recovering from her injuries but still suffering emotional trauma.

Other leading convenience store chains may soon follow Hi-Life's lead by not asking clerks to remind and confront maskless shoppers — for their own safety — according to reports.

However, to comply with the nationwide COVID-19 guidelines, notices of the mandatory mask-wearing rule will remain in place, Hi-Life said.