TAIPEI, Taiwan - Police in Taichung yesterday received reports from several elderly farmers of suspicious "men in black" that were allegedly looking for the old farmer who filed complaints about tainted oil manufacturer Chang Guann (強冠).
Local media outlets reported that a farmer living in Pingtung County had collected evidence over two years in order to prove the existence of the underground factory operated by Chang Guann's major oil provider Kuo Lieh-cheng (郭烈成), and the tainted oil that he manufactured.
The farmer's investigation had begun after his own farmland had been polluted by Kuo's factory. Having taken the evidence he had gathered to the police in Taichung, the farmer refused to be named, only stating that he had previously lodged his complaints to the Pingtung County Environmental Protection Bureau five times without being taken seriously.
Shortly after Kuo was released on NT$50,000 bail, a friend of the farmer reported that two cars caught up with him when he left the farmer's house, with men in black who stated that "this isn't the man" before leaving. Concerned for his friend, the farmer called the Taichung police, who had taken in his complaints in the first place.
Yesterday, the farmer reported a similar case to the police when an elderly couple informed him of their fears after seeing a strange car parked in front of their apartment.
The police in Pingtung had not received information on the farmer's identity yet, as he had provided his evidence to the Taichung police through a friend, but despite that there were also no reports of said threats in Pingtung over the last few days, the Pingtung police will be keeping an eye out for similar cases and launch a probe on suspicious individuals reported by the locals.
Affected Shops to Reopen Today: FDA
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced that the shops and food manufacturers affected by the tainted oil scare will be reopening or resuming operations today, and that the said companies may contact the local Department of Health for assistance in issuing press releases about their reopenings.
After the news of food manufacturing giant Chang Guann's tainted oil production was reported by local media on Sept. 4, as many as 236 food manufacturing companies and 1,020 restaurants and eateries of smaller scale were affected; 250 tainted products were discovered so far.
The FDA stated yesterday that figures concerning the confiscation of tainted oil products show that the situation will soon be under control.
Renowned Pearl Milk Tea Store Reports Use of Tainted Oil
Chunshuitang (春水堂), a pearl milk tea chain popular with tourists, reported having used tainted lard in five of its traditional Taiwanese desserts to the Taichung Department of Health yesterday.
The desserts were sold in all of Chunshuitang's 41 chain stores throughout the country, but all had pulled the products from their shelves after discovering it had purchased tainted ingredients in bulk.