The owner of a New Taipei City-based mask factory was yesterday handed a prison sentence of five months, commutable to a fine, for his involvement in purchasing Chinese-made masks and altering them to gain access to Taiwan’s rationing program as the COVID-19 pandemic was shutting down the world in 2020.
The Shilin District Court ruled that Lin Ming-chin (林明進) of Carry Hi-tech contravened Article 255 of the Criminal Code by counterfeiting commodity labels, finding him guilty of using his company to buy medical-grade masks produced in China and adding “Made in Taiwan” labels to them.
Lin’s activity was discovered on March 29, 2020, when customs officers at the Port of Keelung flagged a container containing masks.
The ship’s manifest said that 69,570 masks from China were in the container and customs officers reported the shipment upon seeing that the masks had “Made in Taiwan” on them.
The court found Lin guilty of defrauding the public, saying that his company was one of many recruited to manufacture medical-grade masks at the peak of the mask-rationing program, which ended late last year.
By importing a lot of masks from China instead of making his own from government-provided resources, Lin upset market equity and jeopardized the nation’s well-being amid the pandemic, the court said.
The court said that there were mitigating circumstances in the case.
Lin pleaded guilty and displayed acceptable decorum during the court proceedings, while he had to pay his employees while his operations were shut down following the customs investigation, it said.
The ruling, which can be appealed, came as a similar but separate case involving Lin and Chinese-made masks is being tried.
In the ongoing trial, Lin is charged with fraud for allegedly disguising a batch of non-medical grade Chinese masks to make them look like they were made by his company.
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