Passenger Sues Guangzhou Metro for RMB48,100

By Billy Jiang, October 30, 2023

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A recent lawsuit has emerged in which a passenger, after being asked to perform a 'taste test' of their own bottled water during a security check, sued Guangzhou Metro for a whopping RMB48,100. 

The peculiar incident raises questions about safety procedures and individual rights in public transportation.

It has become standard practice in China, whether traveling on the metro, high-speed trains, or airplanes, to undergo liquid checks, often involving taking a sip of the passenger's beverage. 

This procedure is designed to ensure that liquids are not hazardous materials.

This incident dates back to December 14, 2022, when a passenger named Zhang was carrying bottled water into the Guangzhou Metro. 

Security personnel requested Zhang to undergo a liquid test, during which he complied by drinking his self-prepared bottle of plain water. 

After this, security personnel allowed him to enter the subway.

However, Zhang claimed that he felt extremely unwell after drinking his homemade bottled water. 

He had been suffering from gastrointestinal issues, and the incident caused severe physical discomfort and mental distress. 

Consequently, he took the case to court, accusing Guangzhou Metro of infringing upon his rights and demanded compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, nutritional expenses, and mental anguish, a total of RMB48,100.

The case reached a verdict recently as the court ruled that Guangzhou Metro was merely fulfilling its safety obligations as a public transportation entity by implementing security checks at the station, which included measures like liquid tests or 'taste tests.' 

As such, the court found no wrongdoing on the part of the security personnel for requesting Zhang to perform the test.

Additionally, Zhang failed to provide adequate evidence to substantiate his claims for medical expenses, loss of income, nutritional expenses, and mental suffering. 

Consequently, the court ruled against Zhang.

This case is not isolated, as instances where passengers resist 'taste tests' have been observed before. 

In October 2019, a man in Xiamen was found carrying a bottle of Coca-Cola in his bag during a metro security check. 

When asked to take a sip from it, he refused and forcefully pushed his way past security, eventually leading to his detention for five days as administrative punishment.

The question of whether 'taste tests' are reasonable security measures continues to divide opinions. 

READ MORE: Boo! No Metro Spooks Allowed in Guangzhou

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[Cover image via Guangzhou Metro]

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