Thursday,  Nov 15, 2018,02:59 (GMT+7) 0 0
5 charged over battery powder-tainted pepper
The Saigon Times Daily
Wednesday,  Sep 5, 2018,15:49 (GMT+7)

5 charged over battery powder-tainted pepper

The Saigon Times Daily

Police officers in Dak Nong Province inspect Nguyen Thi Thanh Loan's coffee processing facility. Five people face charges of involvement in the battery powder-tainted pepper case - PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Prosecutors in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong are preparing to file legal proceedings against five people allegedly involved in mixing pepper with harmful chemicals, including battery powder, the local media reported.

On September 4, Phan Thanh Hai, deputy head of the provincial People’s Procuracy, confirmed that the provincial police had completed their investigations and had proposed prosecuting Phan Thi Dung, director of Binh Phuoc-based Thao Dung Production and Trade Co., Ltd; Nguyen Thi Thanh Loan, owner of a coffee processing facility in Dak Nong Province; and her husband, Nguyen Xuan Bao; Le Thi Hong Tho, director of Tinh Tho Trading Co., Ltd, in Dak Nong; and Tran Van Tuan, the truck driver who allegedly transported the impure items, for violating food safety regulations.

In 2015, Dung established a private enterprise for trading farm produce, including pepper. Her partners accepted pepper with 1-2% of impurities. However, the impurity proportion in pepper batches she had purchased from local farmers was below this cap, so she asked Tho to help her buy impurities to mix with the pepper to gain a higher profit.

Tho helped Dung purchase used battery powder and gravel from Loan and Bao’s facility. Loan and Bao were later found mixing powder from used batteries or cells, powdered rocks and other harmful materials with coffee byproducts on an industrial scale for sale on the domestic market from the end of 2015 to April this year.

On April 22, the Dak Nong Police seized nine million tons of pepper mixed with impurities at Dung’s company. Tests revealed that the confiscated pepper contained 18.34% of poisonous chemicals.

According to the Dak Nong People’s Procuracy, Loan and Bao admitted to selling Dung 15-20 truckloads of impure materials, with some 15-20 tons of it being carried by each truck, for VND9,000-12,000 per kilogram. Tho earned VND1,000-3,000 for each kilogram of impurities.

However, due to a lack of evidence, the competent agencies can only consider the nine tons of pepper mixed with impurities seized at Dung’s company when filing charges against the defendants.

 

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