Thu, Nov 29, 2018 - Page 1 News List

CPDC ordered to compensate contamination victims

By Chang Wen-chuan and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chemical silos, a conveyor belt and other equipment are pictured at China Petrochemical Development Corp’s Anshun Plant in Tainan’s Annan District in an undated photograph.

Photo copied by Chiu Hao-tang, Taipei Times

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled that China Petrochemical Development Corp (CPDC, 中石化) must pay NT$180 million (US$5.82 million) in compensation to the approximately 400 victims of dioxin contamination around its Anshun (安順) plant in Tainan.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs would not have to pay, the ruling added.

Lin Hsuan-chi (林媗琪), representative of the victims’ legal team, said the team approved of the court’s decision to reject the majority of the company’s appeals.

However, they regret the decision to overrule a previous ruling requiring the ministry to pay compensation, as it should also be held liable, she said.

In the first trial, the court had ruled that the ministry should pay compensation, but in the second and third trials, it reversed the ruling, she said.

It is not a matter of money, but of remorse, she said, adding that they have been waiting for an apology for more than 10 years.

Lin said that while she regrets the court’s decision to remand the part of the case involving medical fees to the Taiwan High Court’s Tainan branch, she commends its decision to lessen the victims’ burden of proving causation, as well as its citation of the right of survival in Article 15 of the Constitution as reason to protect the residents’ rights and interests.

This was a significant breakthrough and could be applied to other cases, she said, adding that the lawsuit has more or less finished.

Lin said she hopes that CPDC would continue to take responsibility for remediating the incident, that other businesses would protect the land and that this would be the nation’s last public nuisance suit.

If CPDC does not make the payments of its own initiative, the legal team would take action, she added.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) on Facebook yesterday called the ruling “belated justice” and urged CPDC to swiftly reach settlements with affected residents and their families.

More than 300 residents in 2008 lodged a suit against CPDC.

Sixty-three of the plaintiffs have passed away since the suit was initiated, Lai said.

Additional reporting by Sean Lin

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