Restaurant blogger jailed for criticising salty noodles
Published 24/06/2011 | 14:49
Mrs Liu was sentenced to 30 days in jail, a further two years of probation, and ordered to pay £4,300 in compensation to the restaurant for the damage she had caused.
The Taiwanese woman, who has only been named as Mrs Liu, enraged the owner of the Sichuan Flavour Beef Noodle Restaurant in the central city of Taichung after posting a negative review on the internet.
Mrs Liu, who has a wide-ranging but relatively little-read blog covering food and interior design, visited the restaurant in 2008.
She complained that the food was "too salty", that there were cockroaches, and that the owner was a "bully", according to the Taipei Times.
Beef noodle soup is one of Taiwan's most popular national dishes, and restaurants are judged mercilessly on the fragrance and quality of their offering.
After learning about the negative review from a customer, the restaurant sued Mrs Liu for defamation.
The high court in Taichung decided that Mrs Liu had been within her rights to comment on the cockroaches, since this was a "narration of the facts".
However, the judge ruled that since she had only eaten one dish of fried noodles, she was unqualified to pass judgement on the seasoning of the rest of the restaurant's menu.
Mrs Liu was sentenced to 30 days in jail, a further two years of probation, and ordered to pay £4,300 in compensation to the restaurant for the damage she had caused. She was also told to apologise and refused the right to appeal.
The owner of the restaurant, named as Mr Yang, said he hoped the case would teach her a lesson. Huang Cheng-lee, a lawyer in Taichung, said restaurant reviewers should remember to be "truthful, objective and fair".