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H5N2 bird flu case will not see ex-official indicted

TAIPEI--Taipei prosecutors decided yesterday not to indict a formal agricultural quarantine head and three other officials on charges of covering up outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in Taiwan late last year.

Hsu Tien-lai, former director general of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the Council of Agriculture, and three of his co-workers were accused last December by Li Hui-jen, a documentary film director, of forgery, negligence of duty and malpractice, which Li said resulted in the further spread of the highly fatal disease in birds.

Lin's documentary “A Secret that Cannot Be Poked At” is a comprehensive record of bird flu outbreaks at central and southern Taiwan chicken farms from 2006 on.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office said indictments will not be filed because no solid evidence was found.

Hsu resigned on Dec. 4, one day after Taiwan recorded the first outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza, resulting in 57,500 chickens being culled in the Tainan and Changhua areas.

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