Feed maker's assets frozen in Taiwan oil scandal

TAIPEI - Pingtung prosecutors yesterday froze assets worth NT$7.23 million (S$304,094) belonging to local animal feed manufacturer Ching Wei Co., which allegedly bought recycled waste oil from an unlicensed oil manufacturer.

The Pingtung District Prosecutors Office (PDPO) yesterday seized the accounts and assets of Kuo Lieh-cheng owner of the unlicensed oil factory, and froze the accounts of oil manufacturer Chang Guann Co.'s deputy general-manager, surnamed Tai.

Chang Guann is accused of selling lard oil products made from Kuo's recycled waste oil. Ching Wei, on the other hand, allegedly bought the waste oil and made it into animal feed, prosecutors said.

The PDPO explained its actions, saying that seizing the suspects' assets and accounts is an attempt to prevent the suspects from selling their property to avoid potential compensation demands. Apart from revealing the amount seized from Ching Wei, the PDPO refused to tell reporters the amount of assets seized from Kuo and Tai.

COA on Oil Incident

The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday said Ching Wei has confessed to buying oil products from Kuo's questionable oil factory, adding that the company also provided information regarding its seven retailers to the COA for investigation.

The COA went on to say that it has taken samples from the seven retailers for examination. Six of the retailers have admitted to having bought animal feed ingredients from Ching Wei, the council said, but one of the seven denied having purchased products from the company. The COA refused to reveal the name of the seven animal feed retailers, saying that it is more appropriate to announce the names after the council has sufficient evidence in hand.

MOJ on Oil Incident

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) yesterday during a cross-ministry meeting at the Cabinet said that Kuo was detained by a district court on Sept. 6 over the waste oil incident.

The MOJ said the tainted oil scandal came to light after a report from a citizen to the PDPO in November 2013. The report accused Kuo of running an unlicensed oil factory and violating the Water Pollution Control Act and the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, the ministry said.

The MOJ said that after months of investigation, prosecutors discovered the location of Kuo's factory, and it wasn't until this August that prosecutors had solid evidence against Kuo and Chang Guann. The Justice Ministry responded to media criticism, saying that the Pingtung prosecutors did not neglect the importance of food safety.

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