Police hunting delivery driver after Chinese woman beaten up in row over missing food

Customer who complained after waiting for more than two hours for meal was left with head injuries and US$300 hospital bill

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 11:33am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 5:20pm

Police in southern China are looking for a food delivery driver accused of assaulting a customer he feared would complain about him after her order failed to arrive, local media reported.

The alleged attack happened on Saturday evening, and left the woman covered in blood and needing stitches on her forehead, Southern Metropolis News reported on Tuesday.

“I was so badly beaten that all I could do was kneel on the ground and try to hold up my head,” the unnamed victim was quoted as saying.

The part-time postgraduate student had ordered a meal through the Ele.me takeaway app at about 6pm from a restaurant 10 minutes away from her shared flat in Haikou, capital of the island province of Hainan.

Two hours later she was still waiting for the food to arrive.

“While I was waiting, I called the restaurant a few times and the delivery driver was abusive to me over the phone,” the woman was quoted as saying.

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At around 8.20pm, the woman went to the restaurant to pick up her food in person, where she was instructed by the delivery driver to wait for him at the shop entrance.

When she asked for his name he became angry and demanded to know if she was going to report him for bad customer service, the report said.

“He asked me if I was going to report him to the company, then grabbed his car lock and started hitting me on the head,” the victim said.

The restaurant owner intervened and restrained the driver.

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The woman called her friends who took her to hospital. She now faces a medical bill of 2,000 yuan (US$300) for treatment for her injuries.

The attack was reported to the local police, who are investigating the incident and looking for the driver, the report said.

Representatives from Ele.me said they had no way to contact the man but added that he had been sacked and that they were helping the police with their inquiries.

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Chinese customers’ appetite for food delivery services is booming, with the market estimated to grow to US$37 billion next year.

However, the spike has also resulted in several incidents of violence between customers and suppliers. Last month a television channel in Hunan province reported that a couple had been attacked by a gang after giving a restaurant a bad review online.