Seafood restaurant owner wanted children to use claw machine to release crabs into ocean

He wished to educate the children as well.

Nyi Nyi Thet | October 23, 2019, 08:02 PM

Local seafood restaurant House of Seafood had earlier announced on its Facebook page that it had created Singapore's first claw machine featuring live crabs.

The idea of treating crabs like stuffed toys caused quite a bit of concern among Singaporeans.

A video showcasing the machine was featured on media company, Shout.

The Singapore Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) responded to the video in a Facebook post on Oct. 23.

“Crabs are living creatures, not toys. SPCA advises members of the public to not partake in such activities.”

After the initial hoopla, the man behind the restaurant has commented on the situation.


In a phone interview with Today, the CEO of House of Seafood, Francis Ng, gave his thoughts on the situation.

Ng, who was in China for business, insisted that the machine had not gotten any negative remarks from those that had tried it.

You can read the full interview here but here are the two of the more important parts of his interview.

1. The tank was specially designed to ease the crab's pain

"...instead of falling from the seventh level to the ground floor, the crab is falling from the seventh floor to the fifth floor. This will minimise any pain for the crab,"

2. Meant to be educational

"We want to encourage them, when they catch the crab, instead of taking it home, to release the crabs into the ocean."

In a separate interview with Coconuts, Ng also reiterated the S$5,000 machine's safety mechanisms, including a cushioned landing spot for the crabs at the bottom of the machine. He also hoped that this contraption would allow children in restaurants to "understand crabs better and love them",

Despite his commendable goal of education, perhaps the memo from Ng did not make it down to the lower brass.

In both their Instagram and Facebook posts, they neglected to point out the educational aspects of the machine.

Furthermore the offer of having the crabs "cooked for free" in the restaurant, might be in conflict with the purported goal of letting the crabs back into the ocean.

Screenshot from Shout

In fact, similar live crab claw machines have been seen elsewhere.

A mall in Hangzhou and a machine in New Taipei City.

Image from Taiwan News

Neither of those machines were touted as educational, although the man in Taiwan did face charges after immediately receiving complaints from customers who "felt that it was cruel to pluck living creatures with a claw crane".

Image from Shout and House of Seafood