Chinese tourists skip paying NT$9,229 bill in Taipei restaurant

12 Chinese tourists fail to pay NT$9,229 bill in Taipei hotpot restaurant

Surveillance camera footage from restaurant.

Surveillance camera footage from restaurant.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A group of 12 Chinese tourists left a hotpot restaurant in Taipei without paying the NT$9,229 (US$298) bill on Friday (Nov. 16), reported Apple Daily.

A group of 12 tourists from China entered a hotpot restaurant in Taipei's Da'an District on Friday at around 7 p.m. After eating their fill and chatting for a while, the group left the restaurant without a single member of the party paying the NT$9,229 bill.

As the restaurant staff was extremely busy at the time, no one noticed the group had left without paying. Once a staff member noticed the bill had gone unpaid, they called the police.

Police reviewed surveillance footage in the restaurant and they contacted the tour guide who led the group to the restaurant. The tour guide later returned to the restaurant, footed the bill, and apologized for the "misunderstanding."

The manager of the hotpot restaurant surnamed Cheng (鄭) said that the group came to the restaurant without making reservations in advance. Cheng said that members of the group slowly started filing in around 7 p.m. and as their party became fairly large, they set aside a separate room for them.

Tourists getting ready to leave without paying bill. (Surveillance camera footage from restaurant)

Eight of the Chinese tourists ordered a round of meat and after polishing it off, they walked outside to smoke and chat, some of whom never returned. At around 8 p.m., four Chinese women sat in the same room and ordered more dishes on the same tab, before leaving at 9 p.m.

Staff in the hotpot restaurant said they could not tell where the 12 guests were from, but that they spoke in some sort of dialect from China. They said they looked like a sightseeing group and believe they overhead them saying something like, "been in Taiwan for three days and eaten meat every day, really eaten a frightening amount," while others talked about buying beauty products in Taiwan.

Cheng said that before the Chinese tourists left, a woman entered the restaurant and seemed to tell the four women about the next step in their itinerary, before taking them out of the restaurant. A group of Chinese tourists was then seen on surveillance camera chatting outside the entrance to the restaurant before slowly walking to an intersection, with no one from the party paying the bill for their meals.

Tourists leaving without paying bill. (Surveillance camera footage from restaurant)

The restaurant claims that the Chinese ordered steak, marbled beef, and lamb shoulder, as well as assorted foods for the hotpot and braised food. Including the service charge, the final bill came to NT$9,229.

Cheng believes that this group of Chinese tourists may not have deliberately skipped out on the bill. He speculated that perhaps each person thought someone else had paid the bill before they left.

Nevertheless, Cheng went ahead and called the police, who reviewed surveillance camera footage to determine the whereabouts of the group. Officers from the Anhe Police Station carefully combed through surveillance footage and found the hotel where the Chinese tourists were staying and contacted their tour guide.

However, the tourists flew back to China on Sunday morning. It was not until the tour guide informed the tourists of the fact that the bill had not been paid that they sent a wire transfer to cover the cost.

The tourists then send a voice message to the restaurant apologizing for the gaffe and the tour guide went back to the restaurant to pay the bill in person.

In their apology, the tourists explained that eight of their group went to the restaurant to go ahead and start eating while the wives of four of the men stayed out shopping. The first eight were about halfway finished by the time the four women arrived.

The four women thought their husbands had already paid the bill, while the husbands thought their wives had paid instead. In the end, they all left without anyone actually paying the tab.