If you’ve been anywhere near children before, you’re probably no stranger to them running about wildly everywhere, even in public.
Which makes getting injured much more common than you’d think.
But sometimes, what might appear to be some harmless running about might end up coming with a much heftier price tag later on.
And it seems like this was originally the case for a family in Hong Kong when a child accidentally damaged a life-sized figurine.
Recently, Facebook user Charles Zen Room uploaded the following photos on Facebook, detailing how a young boy ran into an exhibition figurine at a toy exhibition.
According to the post, the figurine was a 1.8 metre-tall Teletubbies Laa-Laa figurine which was hollow on the inside.
The incident took place at Kk plus, a toy shop at Langham Place in Mong Kok, Hong Kong on Sunday (22 May).
Through the photos, it seemed like a young boy accidentally ran into the figurine, causing it to collapse and break into pieces.
The post also included a receipt from the boy’s parents, and it appeared that they had to pay HK$33,600 (approximately S$5,880) to the store for the damage caused.
Company’s Initial Statement
Kidsland International, the parent company of the toy store, initially released a statement on Tuesday (24 May) morning to announce that the incident had been settled through mutual consent, and that the store only charged the boy’s parents for the cost of the Teletubby sculpture.
For the uninformed, Kidsland International is a listed toy retailer and the official LEGO agent in Hong Kong.
According to the statement, the display was a prototype of the first printing, with the original undiscounted price being HK$52,800 (approximately S$9,235).
“The cost of a prototype involves copyright and design, research and creation, as well as the reinforced packaging fees and transportation costs,” it explained.
In addition to that, the company also noted that the displayed figurine was put up in November last year and had never caused any inconvenience to customers prior to the incident.
Backlash from Public, Company Apologises
After Kidsland International released its statement, many netizens were left infuriated.
The reason? Many people thought that it’s an intentional “scam” and “trap” by the company to pocket the money of the boy’s parents.
Within less than a day, the post attracted around 20,000 “Angry” reactions on Facebook, with many netizens urging the store to return the customer’s compensation.
The post was then promptly deleted from the company’s Facebook page.
Refund Issued to Boy’s Parents, Store Admits They Could Have Done More
According to The Standard, the store manager confirmed on Tuesday (24 May) that the management team from Kidsland International had gotten in touch with the boy’s parents, and that the store had removed all exhibits over one metre in height.
They also refunded the customer the full amount of HK$33,600.
Apart from that, the company announced that they will be taking further steps to discuss how to better resolve such issues, as well as how to better prevent large exhibition figurines from being damaged in the future.
The manager also noted that after a round of discussion, the shop acknowledged that they could have done better to prevent the incident and took responsibility for it.
There were also rumours spreading online that three other similar incidents had happened to the company in the past. With regards to that, the manager declined to comment and did not indicate whether it was true or not.
According to Hong Kong Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung, individuals of various ages are expected to uphold various degrees of legal responsibility in Hong Kong.
In the case of children who are ten years old or younger, they are exempt from bearing any form of criminal or civil liability.
This meant that the store should not have made the parents pay for the broken figurine.
Reaction of Boy’s Parents
As for the parents of the boy, who is five years old, his father mentioned that they received a call from the shop manager.
They received the statement from Kidsland International and deemed it acceptable.
The store also offered to gift his son a toy as a gift, but the family rejected it as they were “not looking for advantages” out of the unfortunate incident.
Based on reports by The Standard, different individuals had different perspectives and opinions regarding the incident.
One customer who was at the store felt that both parties were jointly responsible and expressed that it would be best if the parents and the store could settle the issue in a civil manner.
The customer also added that if the sculpture had fallen on someone else and hurt them instead, it would have been much harder to decide who was at fault.
Another individual, a grandfather with a two-year-old granddaughter, mentioned that he would file a police report if something like that happened to him.
He noted that children tend to run about, which makes him anxious about similar incidents happening around him.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Charles Zen Room)