Taipei: A Taiwanese garment factory owner was sentenced to six months in jail for forcing three Muslim women on her staff to eat pork, but she could escape prison by paying a fine, a court official said today.
Chang Wen-lin was sentenced for coercion after she confessed to pushing the three women, all from Indonesia, to eat the meat, which is considered strictly taboo in Islam, according to the Panchiao district court in Taipei county. However, in light of her confession and her decision to compensate the women, she will be allowed to pay a fine of 60,000 Taiwan dollars (USD 1,875) in exchange for a two-year suspended sentence, said a court spokesman.
Chang initially defended herself by saying she thought that eating pork would provide the women with energy, but later agreed to give each worker 150,000 Taiwan dollars.
The case stirred an outcry in Taiwan and abroad when the three women complained that Chang threatened to cut their salaries if they refused to eat the meals she provided, including pork. They also filed a complaint to the Taipei county government saying that they were overworked and had not been paid for around eight months.
There are around 350,000 foreign labourers in Taiwan, largely from Southeast Asia including the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam.