Taipei, The Taiwan High Court ruled Tuesday to increase the prison sentence to five years for the organizer of a party in New Taipei in June 2015 in which nearly 500 were injured in a dust explosion. Fifteen of the victims later died of their injuries.
Lu Chung-chi (???), the head of the firm that organized the Color Play Asia party at the Formosa Fun Coast water park in the city's Bali District on June 27, 2015, was sentenced to 4 years and 10 months in prison by the Shihlin District Court April 26, 2016 for negligence causing death and injury.
After an appeal, the High Court Tuesday revoked the lower court decision, sentencing Lu to five years in prison in conjunction with a fine of NT$90,000 (US$3,078). The case can still be appealed.
The mother of one of the victims expressed regret at what she described as the light sentence handed down to Lu during the court hearing Monday.
The blast occurred when colored cornstarch powder used for party effects exploded and burst into flames, engulfing partygoers in fire.
A total of 499 people were injured in the accident, of whom 15 have died to date.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 281 of the victims suffered burns that covered over 40 percent of their bodies, including 41 people with burns to over 80 percent of their bodies.
As of December 2015, the National Health Insurance program had paid more than NT$800 million to cover the medical costs of the victims, the ministry said.
The National Health Insurance Administration has filed a suit with the Shilin District Court to demand compensation of NT$436 million -- the costs incurred during the first month after the accident -- from the party organizer.
In addition, family members of the burn victims filed a lawsuit against Lu and six others on the first anniversary of the incident on June 27, 2016 demanding a total of NT$2.6 billion.
Meanwhile, Wu Sheng-wen (???), president of the association of families of the explosion victims, urged the Tourism Bureau and other government agencies to conduct thorough checks on the safety measures in all recreation parks around Taiwan to ensure that similar incidents will not occur again.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel