Sun, Nov 02, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Ministry set Pingtung up: top official

WIDER PLOT?The Pingtung County Government could not have leaked documents if they were not marked as classified, like others had been, the official told the press

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Pingtung County Public Health Bureau staff clean up graffiti painted on the building’s facade and entrance yesterday. The graffiti reads “informant” and “shame.”

Pingtung County Deputy Commissioner Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) yesterday accused the Ministry of Health and Welfare of setting up the county government in an alleged leak of classified documents to Ting Hsin International Group (頂新國際集團), saying that the ministry had not marked the documents as “classified.”

“The e-mails that the health ministry sent to local governments were only partially classified. The documents sent to Changhua County Government were designated as classified, while the ones sent to the Pingtung County Government were not,” Chung told a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

“If the documents are not classified, then of course, we cannot be complicit in ‘leaking classified documents,’” he said.

Chung added that he feels the Pingtung County Government has been “set up.”

The Pingtung County Government is governed by the Democratic Progressive Party, while the Changhua County Government is ruled by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

The documents in question were delivered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Oct. 8, informing the latter that the oil products Ting Hsin had bought from Vietnam-based manufacturer Dai Hanh Phuc Co (大幸福公司) were suspected to be substandard and urging Changhua’s and Pingtung’s health bureaus to launch investigations.

However, on Thursday, when prosecutors searched the office of Wei Chuan Foods Corp (味全食品), a subsidiary of Ting Hsin International Group that allegedly blended the substandard oils imported from Vietnam into cooking oils it produced and marketed in Taiwan, they discovered the documents in one of the company’s computers.

The health ministry and the KMT on Friday accused the Pingtung County Government of leaking classified information.

Separately on Friday, Tsai Ching-jung (蔡青蓉), a technical specialist with the Pingtung County Government, told a press conference in Pingtung that after she received the directive from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, she contacted the head of Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co’s (頂新製油) Pingtung plant so that the plant could prepare the necessary information required by the ministry for the inspection.

Tsai said that when she faxed him information on what was required, she mistakenly included the document in question.

The beleaguered civil servant, who was listed on Friday as a defendant in the information leak case, urged prosecutors to check the telephone conversations she had had to prove that she had not been feeding Ting Hsin confidential information.

She also defended herself by saying that the document was marked “highly” important, but not “confidential.”

Commenting on the matter yesterday, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said it was certainly a “big mistake” for the public servant to commit such an error. He also criticized the Ministry of Health and Welfare for not clearly designating the documents prior to sending them to the county government.

Additional reporting by CNA

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