CORONAVIRUS/Man gets prison sentence for selling Chinese masks as 'made in Taiwan'

01/21/2022 07:38 PM
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Lin Ming-chin. CNA file photo
Lin Ming-chin. CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) The owner of a New Taipei-based face mask factory has received a prison sentence of five months, commutable to a fine, for his involvement in purchasing and disguising Chinese face masks as Taiwan-made during the government's mask rationing program in 2020.

According to the Taiwan Shilin District Court, Lin Ming-chin (林明進) of Carry Mask was indicted for different violations.

The court determined that Lin had violated Article 255 of the nation's Criminal Code on counterfeiting commodity labels, after finding him guilty of using his company to buy medical masks produced in China but then giving them "Made-in-Taiwan" labels.

According to the court, Lin's violation was discovered on March 29, 2020 when officers at Keelung Customs flagged a Carry Mask container.

Referencing the ship's manifest, which indicated that 69,570 masks bought from China were on board, officers reported the shipment when realizing that the masks were labeled as "Made in Taiwan."

The court subsequently found Lin guilty of defrauding the public as his company was one of the many recruited by the nation to manufacture medical-grade masks at the peak of a mask-rationing program that lasted until late 2021.

By introducing a large number of masks from China instead of making his own from government-provided resources, Lin also upset the fairness of the market and left the well-being of the nation in jeopardy, the court said.

CNA file photo
CNA file photo

However, the court said that as Lin had pled guilty and displayed acceptable decorum during proceedings, along with the fact that he still had to pay his employees' salaries while his operation was shut down, he would be sentenced to five months in prison.

This can be commuted to a fine, with the court saying Lin could pay NT$1,000 (US$36.11) per day instead of going to prison.

The decision, which is subject to appeal, came at a time when another case involving Lin and China-made masks is being tried.

In that case, Lin was charged with fraud for disguising a batch of non-medical grade Chinese masks as made by his company during the pandemic in June 2020.

(By Hsiao Po-wen and James Lo)

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