Prosecutors from the Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday searched the residence of property developer Lin Ming-hui (林明輝) as part of an ongoing investigation into the collapse of the Weiguan Jinlong complex on Saturday last week, while the Tainan District Court approved a request to freeze some of the assets of Lin and two other men.
Lin accompanied the search team, which was looking for documents regarding the complex in Tainan’s Yongkang District (永康).
He was chairman of the board of the now-defunct Weiguan Construction Co (維冠建設), which built the massive complex.
Lin and architects Chang Kui-pao (張魁寶) and Cheng Chin-kui (鄭進貴) were detained on Tuesday night.
The prosecutors’ office said the investigation is focusing on allegations that the company skimped on materials and arbitrarily changed designs.
The district court yesterday morning approved the prosecutors’ request that assets of up to NT$30 million (US$894,988) belonging to the three men be provisionally seized to prevent them from being liquidated while the investigation is underway.
It also set a low guarantee of NT$500,000 for anyone wishing to file a lawsuit to freeze Lin’s assets.
By law, applications to freeze an individual’s assets require a deposit or “guarantee fee” ranging from one-tenth to one-third of the total amount of assets to be frozen.
The Tainan City Government said the initial freeze of NT$30 million was done on behalf of victims who lost their homes and those who suffered minor injuries in the collapse.
The city government said it made a preliminary estimate of NT$30 million for property losses. as it is not yet possible to come up with the full amount. because victims of the disaster are still trying to come to grips with the extent of their losses.
Respecting the victims’ need to grieve, the city government said it did not ask any of the victims if they wanted to join in the application before it submitted the request on Thursday, although it has begun to receive calls about how to take such actions.
Seeking a freeze on the trio’s assets would assure a financial source to compensate the quake victims if the city wins the lawsuit, officials said.
There is still room for more of the assets of Lin and others to be seized or frozen if more people join the suit, they said.
Victims of the Weiguan Jinlong complex’s collapse are urged to call the city government’s legal service branch for help and information.
Additional reporting by CNA
The US Department of State yesterday criticized Beijing over its misrepresentation of the US’ “one China” policy in the latest diplomatic salvo between the two countries over a bid by Taiwan to regain its observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter. “The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and
FATES LINKED: The US president said that sanctions on Russia over Ukraine must exact a ‘long-term price,’ because otherwise ‘what signal does that send to China?’ US President Joe Biden yesterday vowed that US forces would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack in his strongest statement to date on the issue. Beijing is already “flirting with danger,” Biden said following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, in which the pair agreed to monitor Chinese naval activity and joint Chinese-Russian exercises. Asked if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, he replied: “Yes.” “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agreed with the ‘one China’ policy, we signed on to it ... but the idea that it can be
INFORMATION LEAKED: Documents from Xinjiang purportedly showed top leaders in Beijing calling for a forceful crackdown and even orders to shoot to kill Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday held a videoconference with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet as she visited Xinjiang during a mission overshadowed by fresh allegations of Uighur abuses and fears she is being used as a public relations tool. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of detaining more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the region as part of a years-long crackdown the US and lawmakers in other Western nations have labeled a “genocide.” China denies the allegations. Bachelet was expected to visit the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on a six-day tour. The US
SUBTLE? While Biden said the US policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan had not changed, the group targeted China and Russia without naming them Leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the US yesterday warned against attempts to “change the status quo by force,” as concerns grow about whether China could invade Taiwan. The issue of Taiwan loomed over a leadership meeting in Tokyo of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) nations — the US, Japan, Australia and India — who stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China, although Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the group was not targeting any one country. The four leaders said in a joint statement issued after their talks