Senior Ting Hsin International Group (頂新集團) executive Wei Ying-chun (魏應充) was found guilty of defrauding consumers and breaching food safety laws and given a four-year jail term by the Taipei District Court in a first-round ruling yesterday.
The court also ordered Wei Chuan Foods Corp (味全食品), a subsidiary of Ting Hsin, to pay a NT$15.5 million (US$473,051) fine, while Wei Chuan Foods general manager Chang Chiao-hua (張教華) was found not guilty.
Chang was the only one of 13 defendants to escape punishment, with 11 other company employees, excluding Wei, found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from five months to 46 months, most of which can be commuted to fines.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
Wei’s lawyer Yu Ming-hsien (余明賢) said they would appeal his sentence.
“We regret this ruling and we cannot accept it... We believe Wei Chuan employees undertook their work by following the rules and did not break the law. We will appeal the ruling to fight for not-guilty rulings for Wei Chuan employees,” Yu said.
Legal professionals said Wei and his company got off lightly.
Lawyer Lin Chun-feng (林俊峰), a former prosecutor, said the court handed down light sentences to both Wei and Wei Chuan Foods for fraud and adulterating food products, which harmed people’s health.
Prosecution of the 2014 case involving tainted cooking oil was divided into two judicial cases, with yesterday’s ruling dealing with the firm’s plant-based oil products, while the Changhua District Court handled the case dealing with animal-based oil products.
The Changhua District Court’s not-guilty verdict handed down to Wei and five other defendants in November last year caused a public furor, while prosecutors have appealed that case to the Taiwan High Court.
Yesterday’s ruling said Wei Chuan Foods made illicit profits estimated at NT$209.73 million by mixing low-grade palm oil and other low-cost oils containing artificial coloring from supplier Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Co (大統長基), and after processing, marketed the products as high-grade olive oil and other expensive cooking oils.
Among the four Wei brothers who owned and managed Ting Hsin Group, Wei Ying-chun is the main figure embroiled in the scandal, as he headed the group’s food and oil product subsidiaries, having served as chairman of Wei Chuan Foods, Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co (頂新製油實業) and Cheng I Food Co (正義股份).
Wei and 11 other defendants were found guilty of fraud, faking product labels and breaches of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法), according to yesterday’s ruling.
Among them: former Ting Hsin Oil and Fat general manager Chang Mei-femg (常梅峰) was handed a 46-month term; Chung Mei-yu (鍾美玉), former head of Wei Chuan’s research center, was sentenced to 22 months; Shih Chieh-jen (施介人), manager of Wei Chuan’s food and oil product research and development division, was given 27 months; and Chen Jung-hui (陳榮輝), deputy head of the company’s product testing and analysis division, was senteced to five months.
Wei Chuan Foods said it regretted the Taipei District Court’s ruling against the company and its employees.
“We will immediately seek to appeal the ruling made by the court and will file a lawsuit against Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co to seek compensation,” the company said in a statement.
Additional reporting by Aileen Chuang
‘HONORED’: The DPP’s Lin Fei-fan said friends working in the foreign media, the diplomatic corps and at think tanks congratulated him for making the sanctions list The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday slammed China for sanctioning Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and six other Taiwanese officials for being “diehard separatists,” saying its attempt to intimidate Taiwanese would backfire. China has no authority to dictate the actions of Taiwanese, because Taiwan is a democratic nation that upholds the rule of law, and would never yield to intimidation and threats from an authoritarian regime, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news conference in Taipei. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency earlier yesterday reported that the Taiwan Work Office of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee has imposed
THAI ASSISTANCE: The representative office in Thailand worked with local authorities to help trafficking victims return home, while one in the group has been charged Eight Taiwanese who were lured to Cambodia with lucrative job offers only to be forced to work illegally were brought home on Sunday night in a joint effort between Taiwanese and Thai authorities, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said. Nine people — six men and three women aged 23 to 42 — boarded China Airlines Flight CI-836 from Bangkok, with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 9:55pm and were taken to the Aviation Police Bureau for questioning before entering home isolation in accordance with Taiwan’s COVID-19 regulations. The Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday
ORDNANCE: Under a five-year plan, the Chungshan Institute would make about 200 Hsiung Feng II and III/IIIE, and Hsiung Sheng missiles, an official said The Ministry of National Defense plans to counter the Chinese navy by producing more than 1,000 anti-ship missiles over the next five years, a defense official familiar with the matter said yesterday. The comments came after China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy began a series of military drills in a simulated naval blockade of Taiwan proper following a visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Although China has in the past few years rapidly produced many warships and added them to its navy, these large vessels are more suited for warfare on the open sea than in the narrow
The organizers of WorldPride 2025 have canceled the Kaohsiung event because its licensing group, InterPride, demanded that it remove “Taiwan” from the event’s name, they said in a statement yesterday. Kaohsiung was to host WorldPride Taiwan 2025 after being granted the right by the global LGBTQ advocacy group. However, the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan Preparation Committee said that InterPride recently gave “abrupt notice” asking it to change the name of the event and use “Kaohsiung” instead of “Taiwan,” even though it applied for the event using “Taiwan” in its name. The name was initially chosen for its significance to the Taiwanese LGBTQ community, as