Taiwan "porn star" travel cards sell out amid controversy

Taiwan "porn star" travel cards sell out amid controversy
PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI - Thousands of prepaid travel cards featuring a popular Japanese porn star sold out in a matter of hours in Taipei on Tuesday, despite a groundswell of objection from women's groups and politicians.

All 30,000 commuter cards featuring Yui Hatano were sold by 4:18 am local time after going on sale at midnight, the EasyCard Corporation said in a statement.

The two versions of the cards - "Angels" and "Demons", both bearing a photo of the adult film star and priced at Tw$500 (S$21.70) - were limited to telephone sales only, after the distributor reached a compromise that kept the product out of stores.

Despite the red-hot sales, the company apologised for the controversy and promised not to issue any more cards featuring Hatano, but said it did not believe the photos printed on the cards were "lewd".

The "Demons" version shows Hatano wearing an off-the-shoulder black dress while the "Angels" card features her wearing a white dress.

"We won't release more. We hope this is the end of the event," company spokesman Liao Tai-shiang told AFP, adding that profits from the release would be donated to charity.

The company's apologies failed to quell politicians' anger.

City councillor Chung Hsiao-ping of the Kuomintang party filed a lawsuit against Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and EasyCard chairman Tai Chi-chuan Tuesday on charges of betrayal of trust and contempt of authority.

The Taipei-based Modern Women's Foundation also lambasted the promotion.

"We're very disappointed," spokeswoman Wu Tzu-ying told AFP. "The company should not have profited from the strategy that has objectified women."

7-Eleven and other major convenience store chains also boycotted the controversial cards ahead of Tuesday's sale.

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