Lien Hui-hsin's prosecution deferred for one year
By Lauly Li, The China Post
July 12, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
The Taipei District Prosecutors Office (TDPO) yesterday deferred prosecution of Kuomintang (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien's (連勝文) sister Lien Hui-hsin (連蕙心) for one year, and ordered her to pay NT$6 million to the national treasury over alleged violations of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.
The TDPO explained that the prosecutors acknowledge Lien Hui-hsin does not have a pervious criminal record and has already confessed to selling unauthorized drugs; therefore, the prosecutors deferred Lien's prosecution for a year.
In October 2013, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Juan Chao-hsiung (阮昭雄) initially raised questions about whether Wellslim Plus+ — an over-the-counter weight-loss pill that Lien previously endorsed — contained unauthorized drugs.
Responding to the doubts, the Taipei City Department of Health (DOH) tested the pills and confirmed that the product contains cetilistat, a drug designed to treat obesity, which the Ministry of Health and Welfare has not approved for use in Taiwan.
Taipei prosecutors searched Geneherbs (菁茵荋生物科技公司) and Wellcare Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (云丰生技醫藥股份有限公司) — the two firms that produce and sell the questionable weight-loss drug — for allegedly violating the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act. Lien Hui-hsin, who previously served as CEO of Geneherbs, was summoned for questioning several times to clarify her role in the company.
Taipei prosecutors said Lien at first denied her connection to Geneherbs, noting that later she claimed that although she was given a title at the company, she did not take an “actual” position at the firm. Lien also claimed that she did not know the product contained any questionable ingredients. She later said that even though she is a shareholder of the firm, she did not participate the operation of the company.
Prosecutors went on to say the investigators discovered that Lien possesses 70 percent of the shares and participated the decision-making process, which contradicted her previous statements. Based on the aforementioned facts, the prosecutors deemed that Lien should be held accountable for selling the questionable drugs.
Lien confessed to her involvement in violating the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act to sell and endorse the unauthorized drugs in Taiwan during her third hearing at a district court, the TDPO said.
Lien's attorney, Fang Wen-shuan, quoted Lien as saying that she does not have the intention to speak on the topic with the public at the moment.
Sean Lien said his sister has cooperated with the prosecutors for the investigation, noting that he respects the prosecutors' decision.
The TDPO yesterday concluded the investigation of the case. Apart from Lien, two other suspects had their prosecution deferred; four suspects and four companies were indicted over alleged violations of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.