Nantou, July 7 (CNA) A Taiwanese couple who owned tea shops in Nantou County and one of their employees have been indicted on charges of passing off Vietnamese tea as Taiwanese tea to consumers in 2021 and 2022, the Nantou District Prosecutors Office said Friday.
In a statement, Nantou prosecutors said the three are suspected of violating the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation and the Criminal Code by intending to defraud others and falsely marking or labeling merchandise.
The couple, a man surnamed Ou (歐) and his wife surnamed Hsu (許), ran multiple tea shops in the county’s Mingjian Township. They bought imported Vietnamese tea from a supplier surnamed Chen (陳) and resold it as Taiwanese tea from September 2021 to May 2022, prosecutors said.
Ou and Hsu would order an employee surnamed Lo (羅) to put the imported tea into vacuum-packed bags with Taiwanese tea labels, and they then sold the tea to consumers via Line, Facebook and Shopee at a price of NT$1,000 to NT$1,800 per 600 grams, prosecutors said.
Their illicit earnings totaled NT$1.4 million (US$44,865), prosecutors alleged.
Chen was not aware of what the couple were up to, according to prosecutors.
Around May 2022, the police received a complaint from a consumer, and prosecutors launched an investigation into the case.
They set up a task force with the Criminal Investigation Corps under the county’s Police Bureau, the Food and Drug Administration’s central Taiwan center, and the county’s Public Health Bureau to help with the probe.
Several officials raided the couple’s tea shops as well as their warehouse on May 31, 2022, and confiscated six types of prepacked tea, weighing a total of 584.4 kilograms, that were all confirmed as imported tea after being examined.