Harbin restaurant fined 500,000 yuan, shut down over fishy bill

2016-02-21 23:37:00 GMT2016-02-22 07:37:00(Beijing Time)  Global Times

A restaurant in Northeast China was fined 500,000 yuan ($76,700) after it unfairly charged a customer more than 10,000 yuan for a seafood meal during the Lunar New Year holidays, the Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.

An investigation team dispatched by the local government announced that the restaurant in Songbei district, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, had violated the customer's rights and its trading license was revoked.

A customer named Chen Yan from Changzhou, Jiangsu Province said on his Sina Weibo account that he was charged 10,302 yuan for a meal during his visit to the city on February 12. He attached a picture of his receipt, showing that one fish dish alone cost him 5,731 yuan. Chen also claimed that after arguing with restaurant staff over the bill, they assaulted him.

To prove he consented to pay the price, the restaurant produced a receipt apparently signed by Chen. The investigators found the receipt was forged.

Meanwhile, a video posted online showed police officers at the scene discussing the bill with Chen while smoking and using inappropriate language.

The local Market Supervision Commission found the restaurant's license expired on February 4. The restaurant was closed by the authorities on February 17, news portal chinacourt.org reported on Sunday.

According to the Harbin city government's investigation, the restaurant had committed fraud, as it sold Chen farmed Kaluga fish as wild Kaluga. It also confirmed that restaurant staff had beaten Chen.

Moreover, a police officer, surnamed Zhang, was found to have misbehaved at the scene. The local government said it will seek to make officials and departments related to the case accountable.

This was not the first case of restaurants overcharging diners during holidays. A restaurant in Qingdao, Shandong Province was fined 90,000 yuan and had its license suspended after it charged a customer over 1,500 yuan for a plate of shrimp on October 7.

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