Taiwan tycoon to serve 5 years and 9 months in prison for food safety scandal

High Court to reconsider 45 other charges

Archived photo of Ting Hsin tycoon Wei Ying-chun.

Archived photo of Ting Hsin tycoon Wei Ying-chun. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Wei Ying-chun (魏應充), one of four brothers who own Ting Hsin International Group, will serve five years and nine months in prison for his part in food safety scandals involving cooking oil.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday (November 6) found Wei guilty on seven counts that can no longer be appealed. He was also found guilty on 19 other counts, though he can avoid prison sentences for those by paying fines, CNA reported. A further 45 counts will have to be retried by the High Court on the Supreme Court’s orders.

Wei had been sentenced to 15 years on all charges by the High Court following a not-guilty verdict by a district court.

The cases centered on the import of low-grade oil from Vietnam, which Ting Hsin repackaged and sold as cooking oil fit for human consumption. The affair was one of many food safety scandals to break into the open in 2013 and 2014, including the false labeling of cheap oil as more expensive olive oil and the use of oil residues and products for animal consumption as cooking oil.

The Ting Hsin tycoon has already served more than 500 days of a two-year sentence for another scandal involving the mixing of palm oil with olive and grapeseed oil, a process which reportedly earned his company NT$60 million (US$1.9 million).

Following Wednesday’s Supreme Court verdict, prosecutors have launched measures to prevent Wei from leaving the country, according to CNA. The Ting Hsin International empire includes significant food holdings in China as well as food and real estate in Taiwan, and it once owned 37 percent of Taipei 101.