Front Page of the Day
Posted by Eric Mu on Monday, October 27, 2008 at 3:29 PM
Today's Beijing Times reports on a legal case in which Huang Jing, a young woman who had earlier been accused by computer hardware maker ASUS for extortion, decided to countersue for defamation, selling defected products, and false accusation. The newspaper also reported that Huang demanded a reparation from the State for being "jailed for ten months" before being released due to insufficient evidence.
Huang's ordeal with ASUS started when she was still a university student on February 9, 2006. She bought a V6800V model ASUS laptop from a Beijing retailer. Her computer had many problems including frequent blue screen freeze-ups.
Despite Huang sending back the computer several times for repairs by the ASUS, some of the problems remained. The last time ASUS repaired Zhou's computer, they replaced the CPU, but the new CPU overheated. Examination showed that the new CPU was an Intel "engineering sample" of a kind not permitted to be sold in the market.
Huang and her lawyer, Zhou Chengyu, demanded that ASUS to pay a compensation of five million US dollars, threatening to break the news to the media and take ASUS to court. After rounds of unsuccessful negotiations, ASUS finally rejected all of Zhou's request. Earlier reports quoted Zhou as saying to ASUS that the company "spends tens of millions of yuan on promotion in the Mainland market; if the news was released to the media, the loss of market share would be far beyond 5 million US dollars."
On March 7, 2006 when Huang and Zhou went to ASUS for the last time, they were both arrested by the police at the request of ASUS on charges of extortion.
In December 2006, Huang was released from jail, on parole until her trial. In 2007, the Haidian District procurator issued a decision of exemption from criminal prosecution to Huang deeming the evidence against her inadequate.
Disgruntled customers using media exposure as leverage to bargain with companies is becoming a common phenomenon. This year has seen car owners and home buyers demanding compensation or refunds, threatening negative media coverages.
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