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
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