A restaurant in Breda has taken to social media to shame four guests who left without paying their bill. The Bouvigne Paradijs placed a blurred photograph of the four on Facebook and by Monday morning one of the women turned up to settle up, and left a tip.
The restaurant’s action is part of a growing trend in the Netherlands in which people use Facebook or other platforms to shame guests or thieving customers.
Two weeks ago, a men’s clothing shop in Breda used Facebook to track down thieves who stole two hats. In December, a woman from the village of Leuth in Gelderland used Facebook to trace and cut a deal with the man who stole her purse.
The police also threaten to place photographs of suspects online unless they come forward. A threat to find anti-refugee centre rioters last month resulted in at least seven of the 12 men featured with their faces blurred reporting to the police.
Police spokesman Jeroen Steenmeijer told the AD that while he understood why people took action, the video footage should really be handed over to them.
It is illegal to accuse people of a crime on social media and the police only publish photographs after consultation with the public prosecution department, he said.
‘Shaming someone in public can have major consquences, especially if it is unjustified,’ he said. ‘And that has happened.’
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