Together with the Tainan District Prosecutors Office, the Tainan City Field Division of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Investigation Bureau (IB), the Criminal Investigation Corps (CIC) of the Tainan City Police Department, and the Tainan Environmental Bureau, the EPA cracked down on a syndicate that dumps waste illegally and is headed by a suspect surnamed Wang. Prosecutors concluded the investigation on 4 August 2021 and indicted Wang and 52 other defendants (including juridical entities), based on the various offenses. They are charged with violating the Waste Disposal Act Article 46, the Organized Crime Prevention Act , the Soil and Water Conservation Act (水土保持法), the Criminal Code (刑法) Article 320 paragraph 2, and the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act Article 83 paragraph 1.
Officials from the EPA's Bureau of Environmental Inspection (BEI) began assisting the environmental bureau in Tainan in May 2020 to investigate dumps of industrial waste in Longci District at a spot designated initially as a particular company's waste landfill. Later a joint investigation unit was formed with the district prosecutors, which checked all onsite traces and security cameras. Investigators found that the organization, led by the abovementioned Wang, had been illegally dumping waste for a long time. Tens of thousands of metric tons of industrial waste such as mixed plastics, masks, roof tiles, construction mixtures, plasters, sludge, and aluminum ash and dust, produced by industrial enterprises across Taiwan, were transported by the organization before being dumped or buried in seven public or privately owned pieces of land in Longci District, Guantian District, and Liouying District in Tainan City.
The EPA noted that petitions to detain 14 people were filed and approved during the prosecution. After a year and three months of tracking, evidence collection, and clarification, investigators found that the syndicate dug holes and cleared ground during the day and dumped waste at dusk or at night before covering the waste with soil. There is evidence showing up to 194 occurrences of vehicles committing illegal clearing and dumping. Prosecutors, police, and investigators conducted multiple searches, resulting in the seizure of 11 vehicles (excavators, trucks, and other vehicles used by the offenders) and NT$7 million in illegal gains.
During the prosecution, the equipment used to commit the illegal acts was auctioned off by the District Prosecutors Office for a value of NT$3.81 million. Meanwhile, the EPA and the prosecutors conducted 14 onsite excavations and investigations at the abovementioned spots. Testing of waste and soil samples revealed some of the dumped materials to be harmful industrial waste. The total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) index at one location exceeded soil pollution control standards. The local government will be asked to follow up in the future on pollution controls according to regulations.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, September 2021
- Ministry of Environment