Shellfish endeavour lands hungry Hong Kong trio in court after stealing seafood to eat in bathroom

The three women stole six abalones, eight oysters, and three peony shrimp from a seafood restaurant in Taiwan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 December, 2016, 12:50pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 December, 2016, 4:03pm

Three Hongkongers on holiday in Taiwan have pleaded guilty to stealing high-grade seafood from a local seafood hot spot on Christmas Eve, and eating it in a nearby bathroom.

The three women were caught nabbing seafood worth NT$4,514 (HK$1,080) at Addiction Aquatic Development, a Japanese market-style space with seafood restaurants and food kiosks, and eating it in the bathroom, according to Taiwan media.

The trio admitted their guilt in court on Thursday and compensated the shop owner in full, allowing them to leave the neighbouring island to return to Hong Kong, it said.

On the night before Christmas, the three women –Tsui Pui-yan, 25, Liu Ka-wan, 21, and Chong Nga-man, 22 – had initially ordered some food at the market space, but then went to the seafood buffet area to snag fresh freebies.

In total, they hid six abalones, eight oysters, and three peony shrimp under their clothing to enjoy in the store’s bathroom stall.

The largest of the stolen abalone, a type of shellfish with a colourful shell, was worth NT$720, while the remaining ones averaged NT$500.

Each peony shrimp – known for their bright red colour – was worth NT$120, and the eight oysters cost NT$649.

But bathroom cleaner found suspicious empty containers and price tags discarded in the bathroom, which they reported to the store’s employees.

The three women were stopped at the exit, and one was found to still be carrying uneaten oysters.

Caught red-handed, the three continuously used both Mandarin and Cantonese to say they did not have enough money to pay for what they had stolen and expressed embarrassment, according to an Apple Daily news report.

The women were brought to the police station and initially restricted from leaving Taiwan until the case was resolved.

Addiction Aquatic Development said they have not had many thefts in recent years, and that as long as the perpetrators admitted their guilt, the cases can be peacefully settled.

In September, another Hong Kong woman and her boyfriend were caught in a typhoon when climbing a mountain in Taiwan, but it took firefighters five hours to save them because the woman insisted on not getting wet. She requested that the firefighters form a human platform to allow her to escape.

Back in March, a separate 40-year-old Hong Kong women attempted to steal NT$900 (HK$215) when buying a public transit card at Taiwan’s Taichung Airport. The seller discovered the theft and called the police.

In 2014, two Hong Kong women were sentenced to five months in prison and 40 days of labour after using fake Hong Kong identity cards to rent out a flat from their Taiwanese landlord. The duo lived in the flat for over a month without paying anything, leaving behind trash and damaged furniture.

Note: An earlier version of this story used a Putonghua transliteration of the three women’s names. The story has been updated with the correct Cantonese transliteration.