Prosecutors detain developer of quake-toppled building

Taipei, Prosecutors in Hualien on Tuesday detained the developer of the Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential complex that partially collapsed Feb. 6 in a magnitude 6.0 earthquake, killing 14 people.

Prosecutors filed a request with the court to detain Liu Ying-lin (???) on suspicion of negligent homicide, after they questioned him overnight along with the architect and civil engineer responsible for the project, as well as two business proprietors who operated the A-Kuan hot pot restaurant and the Beauty Inn hotel in the complex.

They found that Liu did not hold licenses that qualified him to work on a construction project, and that the 12-story complex was jerry-built in such a way that significantly lowered its quake-resistance capability and strength.

Meanwhile, the architect and the operators of the hot pot restaurant and the Beauty Inn hotel were released on bail of NT$300,000 (US$10,440), NT$500,000 and NT$300,000, respectively, pending further inquiries, and have been prohibited from leaving the country.

The operator of the hot pot restaurant on the structure's ground floor and the owner of the hotel on its second and third floors have been suspected of making modifications to the design of the interiors of their properties, factors that are alleged to have contributed to the partial collapse of the building complex.

The Yun Men Tsui Ti building was among four major buildings that partially collapsed in the Hualien earthquake, which killed 17 and injured at least 290.

Of the 17 deaths caused by the earthquake, 14 were in the Yun Men Tsui Ti building.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel