Thu, Oct 10, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Court finds three guilty in deadly building collapse

Staff writer, with CNA

A fire truck and a mechanical digger wait outside the partially collapsed Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential building in Hualien City on Feb. 12 last year after an earthquake struck Hualien County on Feb. 6.

Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times

The Hualien District Court on Tuesday sentenced three people involved in the construction of a residential building in Hualien City to five years in prison each for 14 deaths caused by the partial collapse of the building during an earthquake last year.

The court convicted the project’s developer, Liu Ying-lin (劉英麟), its architect, Yu Te-jung (游德榮), and its civil engineer, Chen Chen-hsiang (陳禎祥), on charges of negligent homicide.

The ruling can be appealed.

The magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck eastern Hualien County at 11:50pm on Feb. 6 last year, with an intensity level of 7 — the highest on Taiwan’s 7-tier intensity scale.

Seventeen people were killed when four buildings in the city partially collapsed, including 14 dead in the lower floors of the 12-story Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential building, which also housed a restaurant and hotel.

Following a four-month investigation by Hualien prosecutors, the three were indicted on June 15 last year for flaws in the design, supervision and construction of the building.

Liu’s company is not a licensed developer and contractor, but still took charge of the construction project, prosecutors said.

Liu used another company’s license, employed Yu to design and oversee the construction, and asked Chen to sign a statement of structural engineering qualifications for the building, the prosecutors added.

The building was constructed using cheap and inferior materials, as Liu tried to reap large profits by keeping costs down, they said.

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