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Taiwanese comedian off to Korea to push case against hotel
Central News Agency
2014-02-17 07:31 PM
Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) Taiwanese comedian Kuo Tzu-chien will head to South Korea on Wednesday to push his appeal of a court ruling that rejected his request for damages from a Seoul hotel where he suffered severe burns due to a malfunctioning water boiler. Speaking at a press conference Monday, Kuo and his lawyer said the appeal would focus on eight major flaws in the South Korean lower court's ruling on the case. The entertainer suffered second-degree burns on his left thigh during a stay at the high-end Ramada Hotel and Suites Seoul Namdaemun two years ago when boiling water leaked out of a hot water pot. Kuo said he was offered NT$80,000 (US$2,642) by the hotel to cover his medical costs, but his suit demanding NT$7.8 million in compensation was dismissed by the court, which suggested that his claims may have been fraudulent. Calling the court's allegations of fraud "insulting," Kuo said he will continue appealing until justice is served. The Seoul High Court is set to hold a hearing on his case Wednesday, and Kuo said he will appear in court to seek justice. Also at the press conference, former Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lai Kun-cheng, who is also a lawyer, said he thought Lai had a good chance of winning his original lawsuit. But to his surprise, South Korean judges handling the case avoided any mention of the hotel's misconduct and claimed instead that Kuo had improperly used the hot water pot. Kuo's lawyer Chuang Hsiu-ming said the court did not call any witnesses or Kuo for questioning, and the verdict did not offer any factual account of the case but relied solely on its own deductive reasoning. The verdict also did not consider that the hotel had the responsibility to provide a hot water pot in normal working condition, and instead shifted blame for the accident to Kuo, said Chuang, who believed the court had a predetermined stance on the case. Also at the press conference, Liu Cheng-wu, deputy president of the Taiwan Victim Human Rights Association, advised people who travel abroad to keep evidence intact when an accident occurs and then file a police report. DPP lawmaker Hsiao Bi-khim called on the South Korean court not to discriminate against nationals of other countries and not to take a predetermined stance. Hsiao also urged foreign travel agents to help ensure the travel safety of Taiwan's businessmen and tourists in foreign countries, and she asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide support for Taiwanese citizens to help deal with cross-border lawsuits. (By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Evelyn Kao)
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