Taiwan oil scandal: Ting Hsin owner out on bail again

Taiwan oil scandal: Ting Hsin owner out on bail again

TAIPEI - The Chunghua District Court yesterday ruled to release former Ting Hsin Oil & Fat Industrial Co. Chairman Wei Ying-chung on bail of NT$300 million (S$12.8 million), along with another three of Ting Hsin's staff.

Previously ruled to be released on NT$100 million bail just last week, Wei was detained once more when the Chunghua District Prosecutors Office filed for an appeal over his involvement in his company's manufacturing of tainted edible oil.

The Taichung District Court decided to pull its verdict of bail on Monday based on the appeal filed by the prosecution, and a new hearing was held yesterday.

The appeal was later rejected in court, and the original verdict remained effective, said the Chunghua District Court, although it eventually decided to triple Wei's bail.

Also released on bail were Ting Hsin's acting Chairman Chen Mao-chia, the company's General Director Chang Mei-feng and the Vietnamese oil manufacturer Dai Hanh Phuc Company owner Yang Chen-yi. The three men were also ruled to be released in the previous trial, and their bail remained the same at NT$5 million each.

Detained For a Reason Yet Detention ' not necessary'

The presiding judge stated yesterday that "there are reasons the three were detained, yet detention is not necessary."

"There are other witnesses who have not been questioned yet, but (the release of these men) will not affect the key truth, so the original verdict remains valid," said the judge, Wu Yung-liang.

The Chunghua District Court held the hearing at 10 a.m. yesterday, yet the scheduled wrap-up of the hearing did not happen until later in the afternoon, when the presiding judge and two justices entered the court after 3 p.m.

The prosecution attended with a PowerPoint presentation prepared, pointing out that Wei is worth US$2 billion and has good reason to flee the country, to which Wei himself claimed otherwise and insisted that he had reported to the police station without fail after being released on bail previously.

Prosecution Still Baffled

The prosecution expressed its bewilderment over the drastic switch in the court's mind. "Two days before the court ruled for Wei and the others to be released on bail, it had just rejected Wei's application for bail. We do not understand why the detention standards have changed in only two days," said the Changhua prosecutors.

However, Wei's attorney argued that the High Court judges had decided to rethink the verdict as "the judge did not study the documents carefully; there is no physical evidence that proves Wei is planning to flee."

The difference in bail payments is decided according to each defendant and witness' financial capabilities, said Wu when he ultimately decided to raise Wei's bail payment amount.

Wei is still restricted to his residence in Taipei and has to report to the local police station each day, the court ruled. "I grew up in Yongjing Township in Changhua, and have a deep affection for Taiwan. I did what the judge said (to report to the police each day), and if I am released on bail today, I will stick to the rules as well," said Wei.

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