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Tycoon found not guilty in food safety case (update)

2015/11/27 20:47:10

Taipei, Nov. 27 (CNA) Wei Ying-chung (魏應充), a former chairman of Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co., was found not guilty Friday in a case involving the company that raised food safety concerns across Taiwan last year.

Wei was indicted in October 2014 for violation of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation after investigators found that his company had imported animal feed-grade material and declared it to Customs as fit for human consumption. It was then used to make oil for cooking and making pastry.

The company and six other defendants in the case -- former Ting Hsin Oil and Fat President Chang Mei-feng; the company's incumbent acting chairman, Chen Mao-chia; Yang Chen-yi, who owns the Vietnamese trading company Dai Hanh Phuc Co. that is accused of selling the animal feed-grade materials to the edible oil maker; and three other Ting Hsin Oil and Fat employees -- were also found not guilty.

According to the Changhua District Court, prosecutors failed to give sufficient evidence to prove their claims that Ting Hsin Oil and Fat sourced fat extracted from unhealthy animals or that the company's products were manufactured through insanitary processes.

The case can be appealed.

●Nov. 29: Prosecutors to appeal not-guilty ruling in cooking oil case

Wei resigned as chairman of Ting Hsin Oil and Fat, Cheng I Food Co. and Wei Chuan Foods Corp. -- all companies controlled by his family-run Ting Hsin International Group -- after the companies were found to be producing questionable oil products last year.

In a statement released after the ruling, the group said it respects the court decision and is open to public opinion or criticism.

It will maintain a humble attitude and seek to contribute to its home base of Taiwan, according to the statement.

Ting Hsin Oil and Fat and Cheng I have both suspended operations since October 2014 amid the scandal, and the group, which faced a boycott of its products last year, announced its withdraw from Taiwan's oil market.

Wei still faces fraud charges in a case brought up by prosecutors in Taipei over Wei Chuan's oil products, which were manufactured by Ting Hsin Oil and Fat with adulterated oil.

(By Wu Jhe-hao and Kay Liu)