TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Video surfaced on Sunday (Jan. 17) showing a foreign national get into a dispute with passengers, conductors, and police when asked to wear a face mask and apply it properly, because she claimed masks make her cough.
On Sunday, a foreign woman was seen riding a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train bound for Taichung without a mask. When she was asked to wear a mask, she allegedly cursed fellow passengers, made rude hand gestures, and refused to cooperate with conductors and police officers.
A member of the Facebook group Breaking News Commune (爆料公社), Rex Huang, on Sunday wrote an account of the incident and included photos and videos demonstrating the woman's behavior while on the train. Huang said that while riding a TRA train on Sunday from New Taipei City's Banqiao District to Taoyuan's Zhongli District, he overheard a foreign woman sitting behind him suddenly start to raise her voice and shout "f***!"
When he turned around to see what the commotion was about, he saw that a Taiwanese woman was asking a foreign woman to wear her mask, but she refused and cursed at her. Huang alleges that the woman had flipped him off when he tried to reason with her.
When a conductor came to try to deal with the situation, the woman pretended not to be able to speak Mandarin and claimed in English that wearing the mask causes her to cough and refused to wear it. In the first video of the confrontation, she can be seen placing the mask on her face but leaving it hanging beneath her nose, prompting passengers to request that she wear it properly.
She responded by repeatedly shouting at passengers and TRA staff to leave her alone and that she "didn't do anything illegal!" After she calms down slightly, the Taiwanese woman next to her explains that she had asked her to wear the mask because the woman had started coughing.
The foreign passenger repeated her claim that "If I wear it too much, I cough." The Taiwanese passenger then explained to the woman that she was wearing the mask the wrong way, as it was drooping below her nose.
The unruly passenger claimed that she could not "wear it the other way" and needed another mask. She then accused the conductor of putting words in her mouth.
Woman arguing with police. (Rex Huang image)
The foreign passenger complained that the woman sitting next to her had not directly asked her to put the mask on and had instead gone through other people. The Taiwanese woman explained that she had felt she could not directly force her to wear a mask so had instead sought a TRA employee to speak to her.
After a long negotiation, she agreed to move to a nursing room. However, when she got near it, she refused to go in because it was a confined space.
When she saw passengers discussing the incident with police officers, she erupted again. In the second video, she can be seen telling the police officer that she "did not call him any name."
A conductor had finally had enough and could be heard telling police, "We will soon arrive at Zhunan. Requesting assistance. We refuse to carry this passenger." Finally, when the woman saw a large number of police officers waiting for her at the Zhunan Station, she voluntarily got off the train.
Huang felt that the female Taiwanese woman and other passengers had been calm and composed when speaking to the flustered woman. He alleged that instead of buying a proper ticket, she had boarded the train with an EasyCard, and therefore did not have a reserved seat.
He emphasized that all the foreigners he knew in Taiwan were very good people and well-mannered. However, he found this woman's behavior to be "really undesirable."