Convicted execs of Taiwanese tainted cooking oil firm get lengthier jail terms

World | 13 Feb 2018 9:44 pm

Two former executives of Cheng I Food Co, a subsidiary of Ting Hsin International Group, and two suppliers received lengthier sentences at a second trial today after the Taiwan High Court rejected their appeal against a lower court ruling.

The Kaohsiung branch of the Taiwan High Court handed down a sentence of 11 years to Cheng I Food's former president Ho Yu-jen, who originally received eight months, for fraud and violating the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation by mixing in feed oil when producing fat and cooking oil products.

Supplier Lin Ming-chung, who from 2009-2014 provided lard and other substandard fat products from questionable sources found to be unfit for human consumption, saw his sentence increased from four years and two months to nine years and 10 months.

Hu Chin-min, the ex-deputy manager of the company's purchasing department, was given five years and six months, compared to four months in the first trial.

Ho Wu Hui-chu, another supplier to Cheng I, received a jail term of five years and 10 months on charges of aggregated fraud, an increase of 10 months on her first sentence of five years.

The Kaohsiung branch of the Taiwan High Court handed down heavier punishments to the four defendants on the grounds that they "repeatedly" and "knowingly" made substandard oil products by purchasing problematic materials from downstream suppliers, after prosecutors found a note in purchase invoices to Cheng I that read: "This feed oil product is unfit for human consumption."

Given such damning evidence, it is impossible that the Cheng I executives involved did not know that the material was of questionable provenance, the high court's Kaohsiung branch said in its verdict, the opposite of the argument made by the district court when passing its ruling in February 2016.

The four can still appeal the ruling.

The district court ruled that the Cheng I executives and suppliers were only guilty of "negligence" for failing to ask suppliers to provide documents and certification that proved the source of materials and ensured they posed no risk to human health.

The four defendants were first indicted by Kaohsiung prosecutors in October 2014 after the scandal came to light in September that year. 

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