Yipin Yuan, Zhongzheng district, Taipei. Photo: Google Maps
Yipin Yuan, Zhongzheng district, Taipei. Photo: Google Maps

Taiwanese tycoon Ho Shou-chuan, former chairman of Bank SinoPac, and his wife Chang Sing-ju, who had been accused of illegally forcing Filipino migrant workers to work as their maids and exploiting them,  had their charges dropped by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office on Monday.

On October 10, 2015, the Department of Labor of the Taipei City Government received a complaint filed by two Filipino migrant workers alleging that they had been forced by their employers to do unauthorized work at a unit of Yiping Yuan, a high-end residential building in Taipei, China Daily News reported.

Three days after the report, officers from the department found three Filipinos doing household chores at the unit, which was later identified as the residence E Ink Holdings general manager Lee Cheng-hau, the son-in-law of Ho and Chang.

According to previous reports by Taiwan Apple Daily, the three  Filipinos were initially hired as technicians at E Ink Holdings, but Lee arranged for them to become his maids instead. Two of them would also be assigned to take care of the residential unit of Ho and Chang.

For three years, the two Filipinos were required to work more than 14 hours a day from 6:30am to 9pm, without a weekly day off. They were not allowed to leave the house to check or withdraw their wages.

According to Taiwanese labor law, one of the workers should have received NT$500,000 (US$16,450) and the other more than NT$100,000 in overtime payments, based on the fact that they were estimated to have worked 5.5 hours extra on average every day.

The workers sought help from the Department of Labor after they were left without food when the Lee family went abroad during the National Day holidays.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office previously fined Lee and E Ink Holdings NT$750,000 each for violations of the Employment Service Act. However, Lee was found not guilty of abusing the workers as he had paid their salaries accordingly.

As for the Ho couple, because the two victims had been hired by Lee, Ho and Chang were not considered their employers, and they did not infringe on their rights to use mobile phones or to go into and out the residence, so the Prosecutors Office dropped the charges against the  pair after an investigation found that the two workers’ residence permits and work visas had been confiscated by the employment agency, not the Hos.

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