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Vietnamese tea found being passed off as Taiwanese

2017/06/13 17:47:41

Taipei, June 13 (CNA) Investigators said Tuesday they have uncovered a case in which a tea farmer is importing cheaper tea from Vietnam and marketing it as Taiwanese tea at much higher prices to consumers.

The tea farmer from Nantou County, identified by his surname Lai, has been referred to prosecutors as a key suspect in the case on possible fraud charges, according to Investigation Bureau's Nantou office.

An investigation by the office found that Lai imported 5,418 kilograms of tea from Vietnam in 2015 at a price of NT$600 per kg and then got local tea cooperative members to enter it as locally-grown premium oolong tea in a competition held in the county's Lugu Township.

It turned out that about 50 percent of the tea provided by Lai earned awards in the competition, and the prize-winning tea was then sold at between NT$1,667 and NT$4,667 per kg, the office said.

In a raid conducted recently, investigators seized more than 240 kg of tea labeled as Taiwan-grown, but was all imported from Vietnam.

The office said it was tipped off about such fraudulent activity as early as late 2015 but could not find any evidence until the Council of Agriculture developed a new analysis technology that can determine the origin of tea late last year.

(By Wu Che-hao and Y.F. Low)
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