Earthquake in Taiwan: The developer of a Taiwan apartment complex that collapsed during a strong earthquake was arrested today, as rescuers reported hearing signs of life in the rubble where some 100 people are still trapped.
Prosecutors in the southern city of Tainan launched an investigation into Saturday’s disaster after photos showed cans and foam had been used to fill parts of the complex’s concrete framework.
The district court took the developer, identified as Lin Ming-hui, and two of his employees into formal custody late today after they were questioned at the prosecutors’ office earlier.
“The court has decided to have all of them be taken into custody on charges of negligence of business duties that caused deaths,” Tainan court spokeswoman Kuo Jen-shiow told AFP.
Around 40 people have been confirmed dead and scores are still missing after the collapse of the 16-storey Wei-kuan building. Today’s hearing came as the 72-hour “golden window” for finding survivors expired.
It was the only high-rise in the southern city of Tainan to crumble completely when the 6.4 magnitude quake struck before dawn Saturday.
However, Tainan mayor William Lai offered fresh hope of more survivors.
“After detecting signs of life, the rescue team then banged in the direction of the signs three times, and they got a response three times. This shows there’s a living person within,” the mayor told a press conference.
More than 210 people have already been rescued, including an eight-year-old girl and three others pulled from the rubble yesterday.
But hopes were dimming for some relatives of the missing.
“My brother and sister-in-law are trapped in Building A at the bottom of the wreckage. I feel like they’ve given up on them,” Cheng Ya-ling told AFP.
“I’m losing hope and losing faith in the rescue. If there’s no miracle and they don’t come out alive, I only hope they died quickly and didn’t suffer.”
“I’ve been waiting since Saturday in freezing weather at night and I have blankets. How are they going to survive buried down there?” she said.
Distraught relatives repeatedly interrupted the mayor’s briefing, complaining they had to wait for information from the media rather than being informed directly.
“I beg you to save us. Our family still has three people trapped inside,” one tearful woman shouted at Lai as she broke through cordons and threw herself to the ground.