Animal associations

Ex-TV host released on bail for role in animal importation case

Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) Former SET TV host Lee Tian-yi (李天怡) was released on a 500,000 Taiwan dollar (US$17,985) bail on Tuesday after being questioned the previous night on suspicion of profiteering and breach of faith in an animal importation case.

Lee, her husband Kuo Jen-chieh (郭人杰) and the couple’s friend Tony Lee (李吳達), who jointly started a business to help import animals for a local animal park, were brought in on Monday to be questioned by Taipei prosecutors. following five separate raids on undisclosed locations by Bureau of Investigation agents.

Taipei prosecutors say the trio company was instructed by SET Group General Manager Chang Rong-hua (張榮華) to import 18 giraffes, white rhinos and antelopes from Africa on behalf of Wanpi World Safari Zoo in Tainan. , which belongs to the SET group. .

The deal was first discussed in 2020, but the decision to import the animals was reversed in August 2021 after local animal welfare activists protested.

Prosecutors allege that while the deal was still pending, the importing company inflated the stated cost of the animals by approximately US$250,000 and some of the money was transferred to the bank accounts of Lee and Kuo even though the animals were never brought to Taiwan.

Prosecutors did not say why the payments were made to the company before the animals were imported or how the contract between it and the SET group was structured.

They said, however, that the three could face criminal code breach of trust charges for falsifying the cost of the animals.

Kuo and Tony Lee were also released on bail of NT$400,000 and NT$300,000, respectively, on Tuesday morning.

Lee Tian-yi has resigned from all his duties at SET TV after news of the possible scandal broke.