An Australian Cyborg Was Fined for Using His Hand to Pay for the Train
Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow said he implanted a chip in his hand to simplify the travel process, but a court has quashed that dream.
We’ll never know what, exactly, people a century ago thought 2018 was going to look like. Portable telephones? Sure. The downfall of American democracy? Who knows! It seems safe to assume, however, that they never thought it would involve an Australian man who goes by Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, a defenseless transportation card, and a cyborg hand.
On Friday, Mr. Meow-Meow—apparently his legal name—was ordered to pay AUD 220 in fines and AUD 1,000 in legal fees, the ABC reported. According to authorities, he ran afoul of Sydney’s public transportation rules because he tried to travel without the transportation card used to pay for trains and buses, and failed to produce said card when asked.
Although he pled guilty to both charges, he tried to argue his case: In April 2017, he apparently had a chip used in Sydney’s Opal card implanted in his hand by a “piercing expert,” ostensibly enabling him to tap in without a card. He claimed he had used this hand when he was stopped for a ticket inspection in August 2017.
"There was an intention to comply at least with the payment component of a train fare," his lawyer said in court, according to BuzzFeed. He said he had enough money on the chip to tap in.
Inspectors were not convinced. "Whatever was in the defendant’s hand, it certainly wasn’t a card," the prosecutor said.
His lawyer argued that because contactless payment already exists—credit cards and phones can be used to tap through—human hands should also count. Alas, the judge wasn’t having it, and ruled that the current law stands, despite what might happen in the future.
Unfortunately for cyborg wannabes everywhere, his chip was allegedly cancelled in February. “This is only a bloody story because they cancelled my card," Mr. Meow-Meow told the Sydney Morning Herald at the time . "How often do you see the words 'innovation' and 'public transport' in the same sentence in Sydney?" A valid question, actually.
This isn’t the first time he’s made news, either. In 2016, he ran for public office on the Science Party ticket, campaigning on a pro-technology platform. (His lawyer says he’s a “self-identified bio-hacker” and “describes himself occasionally as a cyborg,” so this should come as no surprise.)
While he’s likely let down by the ruling, we’ve got to hand it to him: He’s got a better story than most alleged fare evaders.