Taiwanese boss cheats Indian chefs out of nearly NT$1 million in pay

The Taiwanese owner of an Indian restaurant in Taichung allegedly owes two chefs nearly NT$1 million in back pay

Screen capture of Hung as she removes one of the men's suitcases.

Screen capture of Hung as she removes one of the men's suitcases.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Taiwanese owner of an Indian restaurant in Taichung allegedly owes nearly NT$1 million (US$32,800) in back pay and plane tickets to two Indian chefs who she employed.

Two natives of India, Yashpal, 27 and Harish, 30, came to Taiwan early last year to work as chefs in response to an ad posted by a Taiwanese woman, Shimme Hung, who promised them a monthly salary of NT$48,000, as is the minimum salary for a white collar worker by law in Taiwan. However, they claim they actually only received NT$37,000 per month. Even worse, after four or five months, the men allege that Hung stopped paying them their salary entirely.

Taiwanese woman who hired the two chefs.

Harish claims that he is owed NT$380,000 in back pay, while Yashpal says that he is due NT$443,000 in unpaid salary.

On one occasion Yashpal recorded video of him requesting Hung to pay him his overdue salary, to which she responded "I don't have money, I can do nothing." Located in Taichung's Fengyuan District, a banner still hangs in the front entrance of Ganesh Indian Restaurant (采神印度料理餐廳) showing a professional photo of the two 5 star chefs, but according to the men, the reality they faced inside was nightmarish.

Desperate pleas for back pay are unanswered.

In addition to enduring many months without pay, Chef Harish experienced a great deal of stress and lack of sleep from the long work hours and eventually became physically ill, and at one point was unable to get out of bed. Adding insult to injury, instead of meeting their request to help take him to the hospital, on March 15 Hung allegedly told the men to pack their things and move out, after having heard that they were in contact with the Taichung Labor Office.

The men said that they would remove their belongings if she paid them their long overdue salaries. The next day, she allegedly hired moving men to toss out their belongings from their dormitory on the second floor of the restaurant, during the course of which they claim many of their possessions had sustained damage.

The men returned to their dormitory to find it ransacked.

Harish and Yashpal reported the incident to the police, who began an investigation. In response, Hung told the Taichung Labor Office and reporters that she could not find the chefs to pay back their salaries because they had left without informing her.

The men claim that she has both of their mobile phone numbers and before she stopped paying them their monthly salaries, she used to wire transfer their salaries directly to their Indian bank accounts.

Yashpal said that after their contract ended, the two men wanted to return to India, however the return airfare Hung had promised in the beginning did not materialize. Having eked out a living for months without pay, the men were penniless and simply could not afford to return home, so they sought out a friend in the Indian community to help translate for them.

The story of their plight spread through the Indian chef community in Taichung, and eventually enough money was raised to help fund Harish's flight back to India on March 17. Currently, the Yashpal is filing a settlement application with the Taichung Labor Office and a hearing on the case will be held on March 24.

According to the two men's translator, six other chefs were also ill treated by Hung while working at Ganesh India Restaurant.

Facebook page of Ganesh Indian Restaurant.

The restaurant has been closed for renovations and Hung starting a new organization called the "Taiwan India Economics Association Preparatory Office," according to the men's translator.

Sign of the new Indian association the men say Hung has founded.