Parole approved for Taiwan tycoon jailed in food safety scandal

Wei still appealing against prison sentences related to food safety and tax evasion

Tycoon Wei Ying-chun.

Tycoon Wei Ying-chun. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Ting Hsin International (頂新) tycoon Wei Ying-chun (魏應充) will soon be out of prison after serving more than 500 days of a two-year prison sentence for his role in food safety scandals, the Apple Daily reported Thursday.

Wei is one of four brothers who own the Ting Hsin group, which has major holdings in food, real estate and other businesses in Taiwan and China. He was one of many business people sentenced to prison after a ream of food safety scandals came to light in 2013 and 2014, most of them involving the use of oils unfit for human consumption as ingredients in cooking oil.

Following 504 days in prison since he began serving his sentence in July last year, Wei saw his third application for parole approved by the Ministry of Justice Agency of Corrections last Monday, according to the Apple Daily.

A court still had to work out the details of his release, but Wei could look forward to being a free man again soon, the newspaper reported.

Wei was convicted for having ordered the mixing of cheap palm oil with expensive olive and grapeseed oils, a process which earned his company NT$60 million (US$1.9 million), reports said.

The tycoon served five months at the Taipei Prison before being transferred to a far less rigorous facility in Taoyuan City’s Bade District, where he initially worked in the garden and was allowed 48-hour home visits.

After the first anniversary of his having entered prison, he was allowed to apply for parole, but while the Bade management approved, the Agency of Corrections rejected two consecutive applications as his release would give the public a bad impression, according to reports.

Last month, Wei filed a third application, but this time, his request met with approval, the Apple Daily said.

While he might soon be out, he is still involved in appeals against a 15-year sentence in another cooking oil scandal and against two years for tax evasion.