Taiwan legislator slams inspections of bridge hit by fatal collapse

Huang accuses professor of profiting in two capacities

A fishing boat leaving Nanfang'ao harbor Thursday October 3.

A fishing boat leaving Nanfang'ao harbor Thursday October 3. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After six foreign workers died when a bridge in Yilan County collapsed, the lack of inspections has come into view, with New Power Party legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) slamming private companies trying to make money out of the process.

The same team surrounding Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology (UCH) Professor Chen Ming-cheng (陳明正) had won three bids for inspection of the Nanfang’ao harbor bridge which collapsed Tuesday (October 1), Huang said.

However, Chen had won the bids in his capacity as head of an engineering-related firm, and immediately transferred the bid to the UCH center he chaired, the Liberty Times quoted Huang as saying Thursday (October 3).

During this process, Chen made a profit of more than NT$6 million (US$193,000) while using his students to help complete the project, the legislator alleged.

After Chen accused Huang of falsifying information, the lawmaker published the full contract on his Facebook page in order to reject the professor’s accusations.

The practices not only amounted to a disaster, but to neglect of public safety and to a criminal method of making money, Huang said, promising to reveal more details about the case.

Since Monday’s collapse, the government has ordered a thorough review of all bridges which might be at risk.