Thu, Jan 31, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Cement assures public of product quality

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Then-Hualien County Council speaker Lai Chin-kun takes part in an official event in an undated photograph.

Photo: Wang Chin-i, Taipei Times

Taiwan Cement Corp management yesterday sought to reassure the public that the company’s products meet quality and safety standards, after former Hualien County Council speaker Lai Chin-kun (賴進坤) was charged with fraud for supplying raw materials mixed with industrial waste.

Lai on Monday was indicted on fraud charges and for contravening provisions of the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), with Hualien prosecutors estimating that he had made NT$435 million (US$14.13 million at the current exchange rate) in illegal profits from 2010 to 2015.

Lai’s family owns and operates Wen Hao Co, Jian Dong Mining Co and several other companies in Hualien County that are mainly involved in mining and quarrying, mineral and ornament stone extraction, sand and gravel supplies, and waste disposal.

A senior member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Lai served as council speaker from 2014 to last year and as deputy speaker from 2010 to 2014.

When Lai began his tenure as deputy speaker in 2010, Wen Hao Co, which is registered under his and his son’s names, won contracts from the Hualien County Government for the treatment and disposal of industrial waste.

The company, which also operates a soil and earth materials dump site, in 2010 secured a contract with Taiwan Cement to supply clay, sand, limestone and other raw materials that are used for producing cement mix.

An investigation showed that from 2010 to 2015, the company handled 160,000 tonnes of waste, which includes collecting industrial byproducts and inorganic debris from electroplating, optoelectronics and display panel manufacturers and pulp paper processing companies across the nation, earning Lai about NT$250 million.

When supplying raw materials to Taiwan Cement, prosecutors said that Lai instructed company drivers to fill the bottom half of the trucks with industrial waste and place natural materials, such as clay, sand and limestone, on the top half, as inspectors usually only check the top layers of the trucks’ content, prosecutors said.

Lai defrauded Taiwan Cement by substituting a significant portion of raw materials with industrial waste, damaging the firm’s reputation and undermining the safety of buildings and the public, they said.

Prosecutors also indicted Lai’s son, Lai Chun-chieh (賴俊傑), head of the Sioulin Township (秀林) Council, on fraud and related charges.

They estimated that the father and son made a total of NT$435 million in profit from the deals.

Taiwan Cement officials yesterday said that the company’s cement mix conforms to quality and safety standards, adding that strict inspections are carried out on all incoming raw materials, including taking random samples of the top and bottom layers of delivery trucks from suppliers.

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