Prosecutors investigate deleted data in ASE wastewater scandal
By Joy Lee, The China Post
December 18, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Prosecutors have discovered that text messages and emails of individuals allegedly involved in the Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE, 日月光) wastewater case had been deleted before the start of the recent investigation, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office said yesterday.
According to prosecutors, experts have already begun to recover the information that was deleted, which will allow them to look into whether the information in question is connected to the case.
Based on information retrieved after searching ASE's factories in Kaohsiung, prosecutors discovered that design blueprints of wastewater disposal systems at the firm's K5, K7, and K11 factories were incomplete in the first place, suggesting that those factories had been dumping wastewater illegally.
According to prosecutors, certain individuals allegedly involved in the case deleted parts of emails and text messages on Oct. 1 and 5, the dates on which ASE allegedly disposed of wastewater that contained strong acid into the Hou-chin River and dumped other wastewater into the ocean through a concealed and unregistered pipe.
Prosecutors said that statements by ASE Chairman Jason Chang (張虔生) made on Monday regarding the case would not affect the investigation.
Huang Yuan-kuan, chief prosecutor at the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office, said that the investigation will focus on whether the illegal disposal of wastewater was comprised of a single accident or was part of a string of violations, as well as the question of whether concealed and unregistered pipes were installed deliberately.
“Prosecutors' investigations will be based on the evidence they discover,” said Huang. “And examination of the evidence brought back from ASE's factories will require a great deal of time before they can determine where the issues lie.”
Meanwhile, the Agency Against Corruption (AAC) has also started its own investigation into Kaohsiung City's Environmental Protection Bureau to find out if officials intentionally overlooked signs of ASE's illegal dumping of wastewater.
Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau Objects To ASE's Statements