The owner of the Fun Tea store in Adelaide where a 20-year-old worker was slapped in the face and kicked in the stomach has finally spoken to the media, admitting that he did in fact pay her only $10 an hour but also claiming that there’s supposedly more to the story.
The store’s owner Jason Duan told The Advertiser he’s now feeling “very scared” and has received heaps of threats since footage of the incident went viral, in addition to admitting to the meagre payments which are well below the award wage for casual hospo workers, or pretty much any workers for that matter.
“It was a training wage and she was still in the training period,” Duan said in an interview published on Wednesday.
“[The woman who was slapped] would have got more later on. She told [Gavin Guo] that if she was only going to get paid $10 an hour then he shouldn’t expect good service.”
Guo, who the newspaper described as “an associate” despite the shop previously claiming that he was just a random customer, was charged with assault on February 2, a few days after the incident took place.
“Gavin told me he had come to the shop to give me some books and the staff member had called him dirty names in Mandarin so I went down there to see what had happened,” Duan said.
“I was talking to her and some of her friends when he walked over and slapped her. I had no idea he would do what he did. I had no chance to stop him. I was shocked.
“It was pretty bad. I don’t know why he did that. It is not the sort of person I am, it is just not me.”
Days earlier, Duan paid popular Sydney-based Chinese influencer Sydney Daddy to fly to Adelaide and conduct an interview where Duan’s face was slightly pixilated the whole time.
In the Mandarin interview, he said the incident “had nothing to do with the shop” and said he felt “sorry” and “regretful” that the employee was assaulted.
“When this video first came out, I thought, ‘It’s not a big deal. It’s just something taken out of context,” Duan said.
But even with context, people are still shocked.
The Working Women’s Centre, which has agreed to represent the woman who was slapped and kicked, as well as another 22-year-old employee, has vowed to fight not only the assault but also the underpayment.
“International students are often victims of wage theft, deportation intimidation, violence and threats of violence in the workplace,” the lawyers said earlier on February 3.
“Our clients stood up for themselves and their right to a wage and as a result they were violently attacked.”
Duan now says he wants to make things right.
“I will pay everything I owe and make sure everyone is paid the right rate from now on,” he told The Advertiser.
“I have decided not to have anything more to do with Fun Tea and will be selling my interest and getting out.
“This has all been very stressful. My wife has been crying every day. There have been too many attacks, too much pressure.”