Lawyer files complaint against Kaohsiung mayor
Central News Agency
2014-08-11 11:36 PM
Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) A lawyer filed a complaint with the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office against Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu on Monday, accusing her of malfeasance that led to heavy casualties in the July 31 explosions. Hung Tiao-ken said the Kaohsiung Fire Bureau was first notified of suspected gas leaks on Kaisyuan Road and Ersheng Road in Cianjhen District at 8:46 p.m that night, and small fires and gas explosions occurred before major explosions struck just before midnight. Hung said he filed the complaint in the hope that prosecutors will investigate if there was any dereliction of duty on Chen's part during the three-hour interval, instead of just looking into the actions of lower-ranking officials. "What did the city government do before the major disaster occurred?" he asked. "Was Chen alerted early but failed to do anything about it, which would be negligence in itself," he said. He noted that China General Terminal and Distribution Corp. (CGTD) stopped sending propylene to LCY Chemical Corp. through LCY Chemical's pipeline at around 9:30 p.m. after detecting leaks but started sending the raw material again one hour later. The LCY Chemical pipeline is suspected of leaking propylene, triggering the blasts that began just before midnight on July 31. Hung questioned why Chen failed to lead during the one-hour interval, instead allowing government departments to work separately and in disarray? Meanwhile, prosecutors summoned seven suspects from LCY Chemical and CGTD for questioning Monday. The prosecutors said the suspects did not observe standard operating procedures on the day of the explosions, and they are investigating whether the suspects violated a rarely cited offense against public safety under the Criminal Code -- causing a fire through negligence that led to an explosion. The seven were ordered to be released on bail ranging from NT$500,000 (US$16,666) to NT$2 million. LCY Chemical employees Tsai Yung-chien, a section chief and duty official, engineer Shen Ming-hsiu, operator Huang Chin-ming, shift foreman Lee Jui-lin were ordered to be released on bail ranging between NT$1 million and NT$2 million. CGTD operator Hung Kuang-lin, shift foreman Huang Chien-fa and engineer Chen Chia-heng were ordered to be released on bail ranging from NT$500,000 to NT$1 million. On Aug. 8, prosecutors and petrochemical experts went to the two companies to see whether the procedures used to send propylene on the night of the explosions followed standard operating procedures. (By Chen Chao-fua and Lilian Wu)
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