12 people jailed over Taiwan’s gas explosions

Vastavam web: Three government officials were among 12 people jailed today over Taiwan’s worst ever gas explosions which killed 32 and injured more than 300 four years ago.The disaster in southern Kaohsiung city saw explosions rip through underground pipelines, sparking massive fires and leaving trenches running down the middle of some streets, with vehicles thrown onto the roofs of buildings.

Three former Kaohsiung city government officials each received four years and 10 months for causing death and injury by professional negligence, the city’s district court said in a statement.The officials “have shown no remorse as they denied responsibility and blamed each other”, the statement said.

The head of Kaohsiung-based LCY Chemical and five employees each received a four-year jail term for failing to regularly maintain the underground pipes transporting propene which caused them to rust and damage, leading to the blasts.The firm failed to conduct proper procedures when testing for leaks and continued to transport the gas to its factory, which produces chemical materials and plastics.The court said the defendants “had inflicted huge emotional and physical damage on the victims” but the sentencing took into consideration that their companies had settled with the victims’ families and compensated them.

The head of a victims’ association who lost his father in the disaster said it was time to move on.”The most important thing is for our lives to get back on track. Heavier punishment wouldn’t really help the wounded or the families of the deceased,” Chen Kuan-rong told reporters outside the court.