After it was found that foam and cooking oil cans were used as filler inside some of the building’s concrete beams, the developer and architects associated with the felled 17-story Wei-guan Golden Dragon apartment building in Taiwan have been arrested. The building came down after an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 struck the area.
On display: The blue and white oil cans that were used as filler (Courtesy BBC)
According to BBC reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, amid the despair, there is anger. To date, there have been 116 casualties, with 114 of those being from this building. On the night of the earthquake, more than 380 people were reportedly inside when the earthquake struck.
Both parties involved with the building’s construction, including developer, Lin Ming-hui, and two (unnamed) architects of the Wei-guan Construction Company, have been arrested by the Tainan district court on suspicion of professional negligence leading to deaths and injuries.
Tainan city identifies at least 123 buildings as dangerous following #TaiwanEarthquake pic.twitter.com/ivQF02SqKp
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) February 14, 2016
The companies that developed the building went out of business after its construction in 1994. Tainan’s Public Works Bureau stated that the structure had not been deemed hazardous after a more powerful earthquake that hit the region in 1999.
Acting on behalf of the 93 families involved, the government has sought to freeze the assets of nine people involved (including Lin Ming-hui and the two architects), estimated to be worth $6.6 million.