LCY Chemical Corp chairman Bowei Lee (李謀偉) was among nine people acquitted yesterday in a second ruling on charges related to the 2014 Kaohsiung gas pipeline explosions, while convictions against three city officials were reduced.
The High Court’s Kaohsiung branch ruled that sentences for former Kaohsiung City Government secretary-general Chao Chien-chiao (趙建喬), and Kaohsiung Sewage System Office technicians Chiu Ping-wen (邱炳文) and Yang Tsung-jen (楊宗仁), both now retired, of four years, 10 months would be reduced, with Chao and Chiu handed three-year, six-month terms, and Yang two years, six months on charges including negligence causing death.
The explosions under Kaisyuan, Yisin and Sanduo roads in Kaohsiung’s Cianjhen (前鎮) and Lingya (苓雅) districts began shortly before midnight on July 31, 2014, and continued into the early hours of the following day. Thirty-two people were killed and 321 injured.
The ruling said that the trio were in charge of the underground pipeline project, which began in 1991, and were responsible for engineering and project supervision, as well as testing and inspections upon completion.
Their jobs were to be “guarantors” on behalf of the city government, the court said.
However, they did not conduct on-site testing and inspections, and other required tasks to ensure the safety of the public infrastructure, it said, adding that their lapses had a direct causal relationship with the incident.
Faulty procedures and changes to the designs resulted in contractors installing pipes next to a culvert, but not using anti-rust protection, the court said.
Twenty years in the damp environment had corroded the pipes in the section, leading to a propene leak, with the gas accumulating, which culminated in a series of explosions, it said.
In outlining the roles and responsibilities of those charged, the court said that nine executives and employees of LCY Chemical Corp and China General Terminal & Distribution Corp, which supplied and operated the pipelines, were not aware of the faulty procedures and altered designs.
It was a matter of time before the lines would rupture, something that LCY Chemical and China General Terminal & Distribution could not have known, it said.
Most of the people who sustained injuries and the family members of those who were killed, as well as those whose properties were damaged, had reached settlements and received compensation from the Kaohsiung City Government and the two firms, as well as government assistance to rebuild, the court said, adding that this was among the reasons for the acquittals and the reduced sentences.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas,” the US military said yesterday, as tensions between China and Taiwan raise concerns in Washington. US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defense identification zone near the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). The US military said the carrier strike group was in the South China Sea, a large part of which
STRATEGIC MISTAKE: Beijing’s deployment of aircraft near Taiwan proves the ‘China threat theory’ that sees it attempting to destabilize the region, an analyst said China on Saturday and yesterday sent a record number of military aircraft into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in what analysts said was an attempt to flex its military might for US President Joe Biden. Thirteen Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ on Saturday and 15 entered yesterday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. On Saturday, eight Xian H-6K bombers, four Shenyang J-16 fighters and a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, entered the ADIZ, while yesterday there were two Y-8s, two Su-30s, four J-16s, six J-10 fighters and a Y-8 reconnaissance
DISPOSING MYTHS: A new constitution would better reflect reality, as the current one was drafted ‘in and for China,’ without the consent of Taiwanese, advocates said Independence advocates yesterday launched the Taiwan New Constitution Alliance to promote drafting a new, localized constitution. “This is a historic moment for Taiwan. Drafting a new constitution is the most important task Taiwanese face,” veteran independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said at the inaugural event in Taipei. “Although the Democratic Progressive Party is in power, its authority is based on the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution, which has no connection to Taiwan,” said the 95-year-old Koo, a former presidential adviser. “The historic task of drafting a new constitution depends on efforts by all Taiwanese,” Koo said. “A constitution for a sovereign, independent Taiwan