Arrests Follow Collapse of Taiwan Building


The developers of a collapsed two-decade-old apartment building in Taiwan have been taken into custody as questions regarding construction materials used within the structure have surfaced.

According to various news reports, the Golden Dragon residential complex was the sole high-rise building that collapsed following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that hit Saturday (Feb. 6) in Tainan. Ten other smaller structures were damaged in the quake, reports relate.

Death Toll to Climb

As many as 40 people were killed, while 320 people have been rescued, according to the Associated Press, citing the city government. A majority of those deaths were residents of the Golden Dragon.

Those figures are expected to climb; as many as 100 could still be trapped inside the building’s thousands of pounds of debris, reports relate.

Crews were still scouring the rubble to search for signs of life as of early Tuesday (Feb. 9) morning.

Execs Arrested

Meanwhile, Taiwan media outlets reported Tuesday that three of the former executives of the now-defunct developer Weiguan Company, have been arrested, as prosecutors investigate allegations of shoddy construction work.

Reporters and witnesses at the scene reported that large, commercial aluminum cans appear to have been used as a building material, packed inside wall cavities of the 17-story building.

Numerous images showing concrete pillars filled with brightly colored cans have been circulating the web since Saturday.

Some experts have argued that the use of aluminum cans in the construction had nothing to do with the structural integrity of the building and their usage was not necessarily illegal at the time of construction.

Prosecutors have arrested former Weiguan Chairman Lin Ming-hui and two of his associates. Reports note murder charges caused by professional negligence are possible.

Lin reportedly had started another company under a different name after filing for bankruptcy upon completion of the Golden Dragon complex in 1994.

Investigation Launched

Officials have launched an official investigation into the collapse, the Tainan Mayor William Lai told media outlets. Three teams of civil engineers are reportedly leading the probe.

“When it’s completed, we’ll punish those who should be held accountable,” the mayor said.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Asia Pacific; Building materials; Construction; Developers; Disasters; Fatalities; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Tilt-up concrete

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