June 18, 2009
Many indicted for faking Taiwan port's container figures
Taiwan's Taipei Times reports that three top officials at Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau are suspected of faking container volume to boost the port's world ranking. The newspaper quotes the Chinese-language United Daily News as reporting that 46 people were indicted Wednesday. Among them are said to be 21 government officials, including bureau director Hsieh Ming-hui, vice director Huang Kuo-ying, harbor master Tsai Ting-yi and a dozen mid- and lower-level harbor officials.
The other 25 are employees of shipping firms, including Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp, APL Ltd, Evergreen Marine, Wan Hai Lines Ltd and NYK Logistics.
The suspected forgery began in 2006, when Kaohsiung Harbor enacted a three-year plan to boost the port's global ranking in handling containers. The plan offered cash rewards to officials if container volume rose and offered incentives and discounts to shipping lines if they sent more containers to Kaohsiung.
Harbor officials allegedly collaborated with shipping firms to falsify container volume and share the rewards.
APL's parent Neptune Orient Lines issued a Singapore Stock Exchange announcement saying:
It has been noted that various media reports since late evening of 18 June 2009 had suggested that the Company's subsidiary, APL, was involved in certain corruption and fraud charges relating to the falsification of data to claim performance incentives from the Taiwan government.
The Board wishes to clarify that whilst 3 employees and 1 ex-employee of APL Taiwan are among the persons indicted or to be indicted on the aforesaid corruption and fraud charges, none of the NOL group companies (including APL) has been indicted on such charges. The Company denies any involvement in this matter. The Company has a firm policy and takes a serious view against, and does not condone, corruption and fraud.