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    Aug 01, 2016

    Taiwan bus fire: Was driver carrying out a suicide act?


    ANOTHER piece of evidence has surfaced to suggest that the fire that engulfed a tour bus in Taiwan, killing all on board, including 24 mainland Chinese, might have been a suicide move by the driver

    after he lost an appeal against a five-year

    sentence for attempted rape.

    Su Ming-cheng, 53, had gone on leave before the appeal hearing on June 24 and returned to work on July 12, raising suspicion that he had started the fire on July 19 to kill himself out of spite over his conviction, Taiwan's Apple Daily reported.

    He had been assigned the tour group from China by his company on the day he reported back to work.

    He had been accused of sexual assault on a tour guide in 2013, who was partnering him on a guided tour in Hualien on Taiwan's east coast when she was tricked into his motel room, reported ET Today.

    Prosecutors confirmed the case, adding that Su had also been ordered to pay NT$900,000 (S$37,700) as compensation to the victim, who was nearly raped.

    They also disclosed that the autopsy showed

    high levels of alcohol in his blood, urine and stomach, indicating that he was severely drunk

    at the time of the accident.

    The fire is believed to have broken out after the bus, which was in Taoyuan city heading to the airport, hit a roadside barrier. It killed Su and a male tour guide besides the mainland Chinese tourists.

    Investigators have confirmed that the

    five plastic containers found next to the

    driver's seat contained gasoline.

    Some believe there is an orchestrated attempt

    to shift the blame for the tragedy to Su, following evidence suggesting that the tour company had offered cheap packages that do not prioritise safety for mainland tourists, the Taipei Times noted.