A father has forked out HK$33,600 (US$4,255) at a designer toy store in Mong Kok after his son was said to have kicked a golden-coloured, 1.8-metre-tall Teletubbies doll that shattered into pieces.

Update: Hong Kong toy shop returns HK$33K to family following uproar over damaged Teletubby

The Teletubbies doll broken into pieces at designer toy store KKPlus. Photo: Facebook.

But after a video of the incident – appearing to show his five-year-old leaning lightly against the doll – went viral, he suspected that his child had been incorrectly blamed by staff at the KKPlus store in the Langham Place mall.

Mr Cheng, who was at KKPlus with his wife and two sons on Sunday evening, recounted the incident on Commercial Radio on Tuesday morning.

He said he stepped out for a moment to take a phone call and heard a loud bang behind him. When he turned around, his son was staring at a 1.8-metre gold Teletubbies toy that had fallen over, its head severed and an arm splintered off.

Mr Cheng’s receipt after paying HK$33,600 for the broken Teletubbies doll. Photo: Facebook.

“My son was motionless. He was staring down, looking at the toy,” Mr Cheng said.

He said staff told him and his wife that their older son had been seen kicking the Teletubbies doll, and asked them to cover the cost of the damaged toy.

Believing that it was his son’s fault, Mr Cheng agreed to pay for the doll, which retailed at HK$52,800. The shopkeeper told him that the store would charge him the cost price of $33,600 instead.

Only when Mr Cheng saw the video online later on Sunday night did he realise his son may have been wrongly accused.

He said his wife called KKPlus that night, and the store had already been in contact.

Mr. Cheng said his son was still scarred by the incident. “He took a day off school today,” he said. “Yesterday, he asked me three times why the doll was so terrifying.”

KKPlus statement

The incident sparked widespread debate on social media, with people accusing KKPlus of scamming the father and questioning why it had not cordoned off the doll to prevent people from coming close to it. Others said the parents should have kept a closer watch on their son.

KKPlus posted a statement on its Facebook page early on Tuesday, but removed it before 11 a.m.

The 1.8-metre Teletubbies doll at designer toy store KKPlus. Photo: Facebook.

KKPlus is operated by Kidsland International Holdings Limited, a listed toy retailer and distributor in China that also runs certified LEGO stores in Hong Kong.

The statement said the retail price of the Teletubbies doll was HK$52,800, a sum that included costs in relation to copyright, design, transport and other fees. “The company did not charge more than the selling price of the item,” it said.

The company also said that the doll had been in the same spot since last November and “had not brought any inconvenience to customers.” It added that the company would “learn from this experience to prevent similar incidents from happening again.”

The HK$52,800 Teletubbies doll on KKPlus’ website. Photo: KKPlus.

Albert Luk, a barrister, told Headline Daily that Hong Kong’s age of criminal responsibility is 10. He said the company should not have sought compensation, and advised the parents to request a partial refund.

In an interview with HK01 on Tuesday, KKplus’ manager admitted that the store did not take sufficient precaution. He said the store had removed all toys over one metre tall and will conduct a review.

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Hillary Leung

Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.