Builders behind deadly Taiwan earthquake collapse sentenced to compensation

Court awards NT$730 million in one compensation case for 115 deaths

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Tainan's Wei Guan Golden Dragon after the Feb. 2016 earthquake.

Tainan's Wei Guan Golden Dragon after the Feb. 2016 earthquake. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The builders of a Tainan apartment complex which collapsed during a 2016 earthquake, killing 115 people, were sentenced to pay NT$730 million (US$24.3 million) in compensation Thursday (Jan. 16).

Appeals against the Tainan District Court verdict were still possible, CNA reported.

A magnitude 6.4 quake hit Kaohsiung City’s Meinong District early in the morning of February 6, 2016, but it was in Tainan City’s Yongkang District that the 17-story Wei Guan Golden Dragon building collapsed.

Of the 117 deaths registered in the quake, 115 occurred in the apartment tower, with an investigation showing that the construction process had included the use of cooking-oil cans and polystyrene materials inside its walls and pillars, reports said.

The chairman of the developer, Lin Ming-hui (林明輝), its design manager, two architects and a construction technician were later found responsible for the disaster.

Survivors and relatives of the victims filed five different applications for compensation totaling NT$3.5 billion, and Thursday’s court ruling only dealt with one of those, according to CNA.

The discrepancy between the sums for compensation was the result of changes in relevant legislation which occurred after the Wei Guan Golden Dragon was built in 1990, the Liberty Times reported. The judge ruled that legislation from before amendments in 1999 should be used to determine the level of compensation.