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Cross-strait pact can prevent asset-grab by Ting Hsin: ministry

2014/10/15 14:56:17

Vice Justice Minister Tsai Pi-yu (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Oct. 15 (CNA) A Taiwan-China agreement on fighting crime will help prevent the Ting Hsin International Group, the major food producer at the center of Taiwan's latest food safety scandal, from removing its assets, the Ministry of Justice said Wednesday.

Under the Cross-strait Joint Fight against Crime and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement signed in 2009, prosecutors can request that Ting Hsin's assets be seized if they are moved to China, Vice Justice Minister Tsai Pi-yu said during a hearing at the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

She said prosecutors understand the significance and urgency of the investigation into the Ting Hsin group and will collect evidence and take the necessary legal action against the group.

The vice minister was responding to concerns raised by Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Tsai Huang-liang on whether prosecutors could seize two of Ting Hsin's private jets that flew to Shanghai and Beijing on Tuesday through cross-strait judicial cooperation.

Fears have arisen that the conglomerate could move assets to China to avoid having them frozen in Taiwan pending the investigation into irregularities at their edible oil plants.

A top executive of Ting Hsin Oil & Fat Industrial Co. and another two from Cheng I Food Co. were detained by prosecutors Tuesday in connection with a recent food safety scandal centered on cooking oils.

The two companies, both units of the Ting Hsin Group, are accused of using lard meant for animal feed in their edible oil products.

The incident -- the third oil-related scandal to hit the conglomerate within a year -- has sparked widespread outrage among consumers in Taiwan, leading to a campaign to boycott the group's products and brands.

(By Claudia Liu and Jeffrey Wu)

Related stories:
●Oct. 15: China to communicate with Taiwan on Ting Hsin oil scandal
●Oct. 15: Prosecutors seize assets of Ting Hsin's former chairman
●Oct. 14: China's media step up criticism of Ting Hsin