by Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taiwan High Court in Taichung held the first hearing Tuesday in the appeal against the not-guilty verdicts for former Ting Hsin International Chairman Wei Ying-chung and five others in adulterated food scandals.
Last November 27, the Changhua District Court ruled that prosecutors had been unable to prove that Wei and the others imported raw materials from Vietnam which were not suitable for human consumption. The verdict touched off a new nationwide wave of indignation against the lax treatment of food scandals which hit Taiwan over the past two years.
Arriving for the hearing, Wei was met by protesters and by reporters. Going against his previous habit of not speaking to the media, the tycoon said that he was confident his innocence would be confirmed, because there had been no problem with oil produced by Ting Hsin.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that they had found evidence to strengthen their arguments in rejecting the district court’s ruling. The information that had been gathered in Vietnam could be used as evidence because it had been collected under judicial cooperation agreements with the communist country, prosecutors said.
They also rejected arguments from the judges that the end product was not damaging to consumers, and that the machinery the Ting Hsin oil factory had used could do away with the potentially negative effects of using animal-feed grade ingredients.
Due to a wave of food safety scandals enveloping Ting Hsin, Wei, one of four brothers controlling the group, has grown into a kind of public enemy. Several arms of the Ting Hsin group, including Wei Chuan Foods Co., have faced a strong consumer boycott, while the family has been trying to sell its assets in other affiliates, including the company which owns Taipei 101.