Wed, May 09, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Event organizer’s sentence increased for 2015 Bali blaze

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) New Taipei City mayoral hopeful Hou You-yi, third left, yesterday prays that those responsible for a deadly blaze at the Formosa Fun Coast water park in 2015 to receive tougher prison sentences.

Photo: Ho Yu-hua, Taipei Times

The Taiwan High Court yesterday handed down a five-year sentence to Lu Chung-chi (呂忠吉), the event organizer convicted of professional negligence over the Formosa Fun Coast (八仙樂園) inferno on June 27, 2015, that killed 15 people and injured 508.

It was only a slight increase in jail time for Lu, as Taipei’s Shilin District Court in the first ruling in the case in April 2016 sentenced him to four years and 10 months.

For many victims and their families, a five-year sentence was still too lenient.

The disaster occurred during a Saturday party organized by Lu, the proprietor of Color Play Co and Juipo International Marketing Co, who had rented the Formosa Fun Coast water park in New Taipei City’s Bali District (八里).

“We understand the severity of the disaster, with its many victims and serious consequences. However, we are bound by the law [on convictions of professional negligence], for which we can only hand out the maximum sentence of five years and a maximum fine of NT$90,000,” the High Court judges wrote in a statement.

“Through his negligence, Lu caused multiple deaths and serious injuries to many people. However, according to provisions of the Criminal Code, he can only be sentenced on one count of professional negligence causing deaths,” the statement said.

One woman surnamed Yen (顏), whose son suffered burns to 85 percent of his body, from which he is still recovering, criticized the ruling.

“To give Lu a life sentence would still be insufficient to compensate for the pain and suffering of the victims, most of whom are young people,” she said.

Yen said extremes of heat and cold cause her son great pain, because the damage to his skin leaves him sensitive to large fluctuations in the temperature.

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