Taiwan water park blast: Organiser jailed for party mishap that killed 15
THE organiser of the colour dust party in Taiwan which wound up with an explosion that killed 15 young party-goers and injured more than 500 others, including a Singaporean girl, was handed a jail sentence of almost five years yesterday for professional negligence leading to death.
Lu Chung-chi, who ran Colour Play Asia Party, was behind the concert event, held at Formosa Fun Coast Water Park in New Taipei City on June 27 last year. It ended in a fireball catastrophe when coloured corn starch sprayed on around 1,000 partygoers ignited under the heat of stage lights.
Lu, 43, was sentenced to four years and 10 months' jail in Taipei, while relatives of the victims gathered outside waving banners calling for justice, Agence France-Presse reported.
The charge of negligence leading to death carries a maximum sentence of five years in Taiwan.
Campaigners have urged prosecutors to reopen investigations, particularly to find out the culpability of eight others who were interrogated but not charged.
The eight include Chen Po-ting, chairman of Formosa Fun Coast, as well as Lin Yu-fen and Chen Hui-ying, who managed the park, reported Taiwan's United Daily News.
The Taiwan High Prosecutors Office has ordered for investigations to be reopened on the eight but refused to reveal the reason, added the newspaper.
Earlier, prosecutors claimed that the safety standards at the park were up to the mark and Lu was the only one responsible for all the safety measures during the concert.
But campaigners pointed out that the case - where 10 victims had undergone limb amputations, five had sustained brain damage and 241 had suffered burns on more than 40 per cent of their bodies - could not have wound up with just one person punished, Taiwan's Apple Daily reported.
Among the nearly 20 non-Taiwanese injured in the incident was 18-year-old Singaporean Megan Loy, who was then studying in Shanghai's Dulwich College and had travelled to Taiwan for the party with some of her friends.
Ms Loy, who suffered serious burns on up to 80 per cent of her body, was discharged at the end of October from the Burns Centre at Singapore General Hospital, where she was treated after being flown back on June 30.
She has reportedly moved back to Singapore from Shanghai with her family.
The first of the 15 Taiwanese killed by the explosion died on June 29 in a hospital, and the last to date was a 22-year-old woman who succumbed to her wounds in late November.
One mother, Chen Lu-yu, whose son died in the disaster, called for the "real perpetrators" to be brought to justice outside court yesterday.
She said her family had donated her son's organs after his death in the hope that it would enable others to have a "happy and healthy" life.
"I see other families, other people holding grandchildren," she told AFP.
"My son will never have a chance again, he will never have a chance to live out his dreams."