Taiwan food tycoon to enter jail over edible oil scandal

Wei Ying-chun's two years in prison to begin next month: reports

Ting Hsin tycoon Wei Ying-chun. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Ting Hsin International (頂新) tycoon Wei Ying-chun (魏應充) will start his two-year prison sentence for his part in an adulterated edible oil scandal by the end of next month, reports said Friday.

As one of four brothers in charge of the Ting Hsin empire, which runs from dairy products to a stake in Taipei 101, Wei was one of the most visible businessmen implicated in the series of scandals involving the sale of cooking oil mixed with lower-grade or even industrial products which hit Taiwan from 2013.

In April, the Intellectual Property Court ruled that Wei should spend two years in prison for providing false information on product labels.

Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co. bought oils from Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Co., another company which played a prominent role in the food safety scandals. Prosecutors said they found that Wei expressly ordered the Ting Hsin affiliate he was president of, Wei Chuan Foods (味全), to mix the oil in its products. In the event, Wei Chuan’s 100 percent pure olive oil contained 98 percent of palm oil, reports said.

The Taipei District Court initially sentenced Wei to four years in prison, because it also found him guilty of having instructed staff to mix the oils. After an appeal, the Intellectual Property Court changed that verdict and cut his sentence to two years.

A summons was already on the way to tell Wei he should start serving his sentence by the end of July, reports said.

Former Ting Hsin Oil and Fat CEO Chang Mei-feng (常梅峯) was sentenced to 18 months while two members of staff at Wei Chuan received suspended sentences, and nine others as well as the company itself were acquitted.

Wei’s involvement in the food safety scandals triggered a consumer boycott of Ting Hsin and Wei Chuan products, and led to pressure on the group to try and sell its stake in Taipei 101, though several bids failed.