A Taiwanese man has been arrested on suspicion of hoarding 300 tonnes of carrots in what authorities believe was an attempt to manipulate prices. Investigators in the southern city of Kaohsiung, acting on a tip, found cartons of carrots grown in Taiwan at a cold storage warehouse on Wednesday.
They have been investigating high fruit and vegetable prices since Typhoon Meranti battered the country last month.
The alleged hoarder, whose surname was given as Chiang, was taken into custody and later released on NT$100,000 (£2,600, $3,150) bail, according to prosecutors.
“The typhoons passed quite some time ago, but prices of vegetables, fruit and other agricultural products have yet to fall,” they said in a statement. “We suspect it is due to manipulation, affecting the interests of the people.”
Investigations into other potential market manipulation will continue. Chiang, a produce vendor, denied the accusations.
He said that he annually buys about 1,500 tonnes of carrots in February and March to be sold throughout the year.
Chiang described the remaining 300 tonnes as a small amount that should not be considered hoarding. Last week, Taiwan’s agricultural council said it had ordered farmers’ groups to increase imports and release more supplies into the market to help stabilise prices.