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ASE factory head taken into custody

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office took the factory head of Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE, 日月光) Inc. into custody yesterday.

After finding concealed and unregistered pipes used for dumping wastewater containing strong acids and heavy metals into the Hou-chin River at the company's K7 facility in Kaohsiung City, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office (KDPO) summoned personnel from K7 for night-long questioning on Thursday.

The KDPO yesterday summoned members of ASE's management team, including its managers, factory heads and directors, on suspicions that the illegal wastewater disposal may have been approved by a high-ranking official at the company.

It is assumed that the questioning would be based on seeking understanding of whether the illegal wastewater disposal had been intentional or unpremeditated.

Head of the K7 factory Su Ping-shuo (蘇炳碩) was taken into custody after questioning, and manager Yen Chun-ming (顏俊明) was released on bail of NT$1 million.

Workers Released on Bail, Listed as Defendants

Three ASE workers responsible for wastewater disposal were released on a total bail of NT$1.7 million yesterday after the company was found responsible for heavy pollution.

After questioning, Liu Wei-chung, Yu Chih-hsien and Ho Fa-yang were deemed suspects in criminal law violations when they “endangered public safety by throwing, abandoning, draining or releasing a poisonous substance or any other harmful thing to one's health to pollute air, soil, rivers, or other bodies of water.” Liu and Yu were released on bail of NT$500,000 apiece, and Ho on NT$700,000 bail. Another six personnel were listed as defendants in the case.

The Kaohsiung City's Environmental Protection Bureau accused ASE of providing false statistics about the factory to the bureau, and announced that it had also discovered “spare” pipes and containers behind the wastewater disposal pipes that were actually government-registered at the company's K11 facility, in a suggestion that ASE may have been disposing of its wastewater illegally in more than one facility. ASE refuted the accusations of having provided false information and statistics.

Unregistered pipes for waste disposal were found at the K7 site on both Thursday and Friday.

After its K7 facility was found to have been disposing of wastewater illegally, ASE claimed that irregularities discovered by officials in water samples should have been chalked up to damaged equipment, and that the entire wastewater disposal incident was nothing but an accident.

The ASE was held accountable for heavy pollution of the Hou-chin River, from which many nearby farmers irrigate their crops.

1 Comment
December 14, 2013    kingsolomon@
This is a premeditated criminal act that factory officials thought would never be discovered, or the government would just look the other way. They did not expect the people would protest the results of what they were doing.
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This photo shows a pump station at Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc.'s (日月光) K7 facility in Kaohsiung. Kaohsiung City's Environmental Protection Bureau and city prosecutors have discovered concealed wastewater disposal pipes that were not government-registered, prompting prosecutors to conduct further investigations. (CNA)

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