Ministry cautions people considering name change for free meal

Taipei-The Ministry of the Interior on Wednesday urged people to consider carefully before changing their names in return for a free meal offered by a sushi restaurant chain in a two-day promotion.

According to household registration offices in Taiwan's six special municipalities -- Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung -- nearly 100 people changed their names after the Sushiro chain announced the promotion on Monday.

Under the terms of the promotion, any customer whose name includes the characters "??" (pronounced "guiyu," meaning "salmon" in Chinese), that person and up to five people at the same table can get a free meal at any of the chain's 20 outlets in Taiwan on Wednesday and Thursday, the chain wrote in a Facebook post.

A 50 percent discount is offered to people whose name comprises the characters "gui" and "yu," in any order, while a 10 percent discount will be given to customers with one of the characters in their name, according to the chain.

The ministry responded by reminding the public in a Facebook post that people can only change their names up to three times, citing the country's Name Act.

The Xinyi District Household Registration Office said the reminder was successful in discouraging one man who went there to apply for a name change Wednesday.

However, another man surnamed Chou (?) was not dissuaded when he applied at the North District Household Registration Office in Taichung a day earlier, even though it was the second time he had applied to change his name, the office said.

Meanwhile, a man surnamed Lai (?), who also changed his name in Kaohsiung on Wednesday, said he planned to change it back once the restaurant's two-day campaign is over.

The Taichung City Civil Affairs Bureau said that as of noon Wednesday, 15 people had changed their name because of the free meal offer.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel