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Executive attempts suicide after 22-year sentence for gutter oil scandal

Yeh Wen-hsiang conscious at Kaohsiung hospital: reports

Yeh Wen-hsiang apologizing after the oil scandal first broke.

Yeh Wen-hsiang apologizing after the oil scandal first broke. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After seeing a 22-year prison sentence for a “gutter oil” scandal confirmed Wednesday, Chang Guann Co., Ltd. (強冠) Chairman Yeh Wen-hsiang (葉文祥) on Thursday reportedly tried to commit suicide by drinking a cleaning fluid, reports said.

He was taken to hospital where he was conscious and recovering, according to a report by the Chinese-language Apple Daily.

The Supreme Court had rejected Yeh’s appeal against a guilty verdict for using lard oil reclaimed from kitchen waste and grease from leather processing plants and selling them on to hundreds of food processing companies and restaurants, causing a major food safety scandal in 2014.

After his relatives discovered Yeh had drunk cleaning fluid Thursday morning, they took him to the Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, but spokespersons for the institution refused to confirm or deny the story based on privacy rules.

Police reportedly found a bottle of dishwashing fluid which was one third empty, but it was not clear how much Yeh might have consumed, the Apple Daily reported. The businessman was conscious and able to walk around in his room when investigators visited him at noon for questioning.

Police reportedly heard vague and imprecise answers from their questions about the alleged suicide attempt from Yeh and his son, the Apple Daily reported. The businessman had not been at home in Kaohsiung’s Niaosong District when police visited him Wednesday evening and again Thursday at 8 a.m., reports said.