The Kaohsiung Department of Health yesterday fined Jingxin Technology Co NT$2 million (US$68,318) for setting up unlicensed mask production equipment, while the Ministry of Labor said that it would send teams to regularly inspect mask facilities after it received complaints of breaches of labor laws.
The Kaohsiung-based Jingxin Technology is part of the government’s national alliance of approved mask manufacturers, but more production equipment had been set up at two off-site locations, which were not licensed, the Ciaotou District Prosecutors’ Office said.
Complaints led to the raids, which uncovered machines to equip 22 additional production lines.
Photo: Huang Hsu-lei, Taipei Times
Kaohsiung health officials said that Jingxin Technology was fined for breaches of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法).
The heavy penalty is seen as proof of the health department’s intention to crack down on illegal manufacturing and to serve as a warning to others.
The company could make more revenue by producing masks beyond its government quota.
Alliance members have all agreed to conditions set by the government regarding subsidized pricing for fabric and other needed production materials, and guaranteed sales amounts under the government’s rationing program.
The owners of Jingxin Technology are a father and son surnamed Hsu (許).
After being questioned on Thursday, the father was released on bail of NT$300,000 and the son on bail of NT$200,000, prosecutors said, adding that they are expected to be charged with breaches of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.
Yesterday, the father denied that he intended to illegally produce masks, saying that the off-site locations were only pilot projects for testing production methods and manufacturing sample masks, which were not to be sold in retail outlets.
Ministry of Labor officials have said that they have instructed inspectors to make regular rounds of all mask manufacturing facilities.
Workers have complained that they were not properly paid for overtime work at mask facilities, as well as other contraventions of the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), the officials said.
The complaints followed a case earlier this month of improperly labeled China-made masks and breaches of labor regulations by the New Taipei City-based Carry Hi-tech (加利科技).
Additional reporting by CNA
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