Pingtung’s dirty secret
Pingtung officials started their probe after receiving a complaint that water in a local ditch had turned blood red.
Environmental inspectors began tracing the source of pollution and found that the perpetrator was illegally making the pharmaceutical drugs that are commonly called blood thinners, officials said.
The proprietor of the underground factory, surnamed Hsu, divulged that he had been extracting heparin from pigs’ intestines for more than five years, and the products had been sold to China via Kinmen, the outlying island county where there are regular ferry services to and from the mainland.
The anticoagulants were sold at NT$20,000 (US$662) per kilogram to his mainland clients, Hsu was cited as confessing.
The factory, located near a ditch that is connected to the Touqian Creek in the southern city, had disguised itself as a food plant processing pigs’ intestines, officials from Pingtung’s Environmental Protection Bureau said.
At First If You Don’t Succeed Led by the bureau’s director, Lu Tai-ying, the Environmental Protection Bureau investigators arrived at the ditch shortly after 10 a.m., only to find that the red water had been much diluted, making it difficult to trace the source of the pollution.
Further inspection on the outside of the factory discovered more red water stains.
The EPB director, Lu, described the factory’s manufacturing environment as "disgusting," saying Hsu will be given a fine for illegally discharging unprocessed waste water.
The factory does not have a license to make pharmaceutical products, Lu said, adding that police are also investigating Hsu for other alleged offences.
In 2007-2008, more than 81 deaths and 785 serious injuries from the U.S. alone were linked to a heparin ingredient imported from mainland China.