On Thursday, the Tainan District Court ordered six defendants to pay 450 million Taiwan dollars (15.25 million US dollars) to 128 victims and their family members after 115 residents of the poorly constructed building died in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake on February 6, 2016.
The lawsuit has brought 128 victims and relatives of those who died when the Weiguan Jinlong apartment complex collapsed, demanding compensation of nearly NT $ 5 billion.
The six are Lin Ming-hui (林明輝), the owner of the now-defunct Weiguan Corp, which built the housing complex in 1993; Hong Han Hsin (洪 汗 仙), Head of Design Department at the construction company; Cheng Tong Hsu (), a contracted structural engineer for the building; Cheng Chin-kui (鄭進貴) and Chang Kui-pao (張 魁 寶), the building’s architects; And Hu Chia-chen (胡 家 禎), president of Daho Construction Consulting.
Photo: Wang Chunzhong, Taipei Times
The ruling said that the six are considered responsible for the poor design of the housing complex and the poor construction using inferior materials to cut costs, which contributed to the collapse of the building when the earthquake struck, resulting in death and injury.
To cut costs, Lin Hong ordered reduced design work in the planning stage, reduced reinforcement of beam column joints and reduced size of some columns when building an apartment complex, thus undermining the building’s structural integrity, she said.
She said Cheng Chin-kui and Chang helped the company obtain construction certification and other documents without properly supervising the design.
In addition, Hu asked Cheng Tung-hsu to do part of the construction work, despite his realization that the latter was not a qualified structural engineer and that there were flaws in the building-structure proposal submitted by his Daho Consulting firm.
The verdict can still be appealed.
Six civil lawsuits have been filed against the five persons responsible for the design and construction of the Weiguan Jinlong Complex and Daho Construction Consulting, including one by the Consumer Corporation, for compensation of NT $ 3.5 billion.
On January 16, the Tainan County Court issued its verdict in the case, requiring the defendants to pay more than NT $ 700 million to compensate the victims and family members of those who died in the building’s collapse.
The Tainan County Prosecutor’s Office also filed a lawsuit against the five, and the District Court on January 17 ruled that NT $ 75.36 million and interest be paid to the victims and family members of the victims. The case is in the second trial stage.
The five individuals were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for murder as a result of negligence in the final ruling in the criminal case against them.
Lynn is serving his sentence since September 2017, while the other four began their sentences on March 4 of last year.
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