Wrote negative comments on food in Taiwan and get heavy punishment

[update] See my newer article with more updated info of this event.

Didn't write anything for a long while (I spent most of my time on Black Rain's blog). But I think I should bring this to your attentions, regarding what you write in your blog that could get you into troubles in Taiwan.

It appears in today's news:

部落客惡評麵店 賠20萬判拘役
Blogger Maliciously Comments on Noodle, Fined NT$ 200,000 and More

A blogger ordered a noodle in a restaurant. She then wrote an article in her blog to criticize --- too salty, the store too dirty, had cockroaches, the owner allows illegal parking causing traffic troubles --- as what any customer in the USA would write on a daily basis.

Only thing is that she was not in the USA. The restaurant brought it to the court and she was fined by the judge with:

* ~7000.00 US dollars (The owner asked for ~17,000.00). Fined ~ US$ 17,000.00 in the first trial (on Feb 15th). The accused reached an agreement with the complainant for ~ US$ 7,000.00 before the 2nd trial.
* delivering an apology
* 30-day labor
* 2-year probation.
* 30-day detention, probated for 2 years.

Why ?

1. The investigators went to the restaurant but found that the store was clean and no cockroaches so what the blogger wrote was wrong --- Oh yea, it was after the owner brought it to the court, and the investigators expected the store be left dirty and the cockroaches be there to greet them when they got there;

2. The judge said, she went to the restaurant only once and took only one bowl of noodle. For that, she cannot say the food from the store is bad --- i.e., she should have been there numerous times and eaten all the dishes before she made any negative comment;

3. The fact that she wrote a negative comment after eating there only once shows that her intention of writing that blog article was to ruin the reputation of the restaurant.

With that, the judge concluded that what she wrote is beyond the freedom of speech, and charged her with Offenses Against Reputation (妨害名譽) accordingly.

Even if that crime sticks, the punishment is way too heavy from my standard.

The article also cited a remarkable comment from a lawyer as saying:

"When making comments, people should hold an objective and fair attitude, but not just criticizing. After all, everybody has different tastes, so you can't make one comment for all."

That is, you are not allowed to voice your own judgment. Instead, you should always voice "what everybody thinks."

So, watch out what you write in Taiwan, people.