Wed, Jan 31, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Police in Taichung detain man making rice wine illegally

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taichung police on Sunday raided a warehouse, where they found a rice wine factory and apprehended a suspect surnamed Pai (白), who said he was catering to local demand caused by a cold spell and an upcoming holiday.

The Taichung Harbor Police Department yesterday announced the results of the operation, with officials saying that 57-year-old Pai would be charged with breaches of the Tobacco and Alcohol Administration Act (菸酒管理法).

Police said Pai admitted making rice wine without a license, but insisted his product was of equal quality to legal products.

“My facility only produces genuine rice wine; there is no fake stuff here,” officials quoted Pai as saying. “My production costs are about NT$40 per bottle, which I sell for NT$60.”

“The weather is so cold this week, and with the Lunar New Year holiday coming up, there is a big demand for rice wine,” Pai was quoted as saying.

He said he works as a warehouse manager in Taoyuan, but took time off to return to Taichung, his hometown, to make rice wine.

After receiving a tip-off about the operation, police said they put the warehouse under surveillance for a few months to track the movements of those involved.

Police were accompanied on the raid by officials from the Taichung Finance Bureau’s Tobacco and Alcohol Management Division.

In addition to detaining Pai, authorities confiscated equipment, 1,208 liters of finished rice wine products and 2,880 liters of unfinished products, with a total estimated value of about NT$240,000.

Pai’s alleged operation was illegal, as he does not have a business license for it and does not pay taxes, officials said.

As he does not have a license and the warehouse was not subject to inspections, officials said there are concerns about possible breaches of health and food safety standards.

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