New Taipei man in hot water for selling live crabs in claw machine

New Taipei man faces charges for selling live crabs and crayfish from a claw machine

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Crustaceans found inside claw machine. (Image from New Taipei City Police)

Crustaceans found inside claw machine. (Image from New Taipei City Police)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A man is facing charges after being caught selling live crabs and crayfish in a claw machine in New Taipei City, reported UDN.

A 45-year-old man surnamed Feng (馮) is facing charges after police discovered that he was selling live Chinese mitten crabs and Australian red claw crayfish inside a claw machine in a neighborhood of New Taipei City. After receiving complaints that live crustaceans were being sold in a claw machine, police found over a dozen crayfish and three crabs inside the device on Liancheng Road in New Taipei City's Zhonghe District.

According to an initial investigation, Feng allegedly purchased crayfish from his friend at NT$200 (US$6.5) to NT$450 (US$14.6) per jin (half a kilogram), and at the end of October, he began renting a claw machine in the claw game arcade for NT$5,000 per month. Because autumn is the season for Chinese mitten crabs, he attracted a lot of customers.

However, some customers immediately felt that it was cruel to pluck living creatures with a claw crane. The Yuanshan District Police Department was soon notified and officers dispatched to the scene found crayfish and crabs inside a machine set up by Feng.

Police said that Feng was in obvious violation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs stipulations that "goods provided in claw machines shall not contain living animals." Feng also ensured that the price of the crustaceans was higher than the market price and the creatures would try to avoid the claw because of their survival instinct, thus increasing the uncertainty of the "gambling."

Police seized 14 Australian red claw crayfish and three Chinese mitten crabs inside the claw game, as well as the motherboard of the machine and its profits. During Police questioning, Feng repeatedly denied knowledge of the regulation against live animals in the machines, and insisted that he was just trying to make some money.

After deducting costs, he said he was only able to make a profit of NT$500 per day, and because the profit margins for his friends who raise crayfish are so low, he thought he would try this "special marketing strategy."

Police said that Feng will be charged for violating the Electronic Game Arcade Business Regulation Act (電子遊戲場業管理條例) and Chapter 21 of the Criminal Code.


Crayfish and crabs found in claw machine. (Image from New Taipei City Police)


Crayfish and crabs found in claw machine. (Image from New Taipei City Police)