Taiwan prosecutors charge 5 builders in earthquake deaths

AP News
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Posted: Apr 07, 2016 6:58 AM

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Prosecutors in Taiwan are charging five builders with negligence after an apartment building collapsed during a February earthquake, killing 115 people.

The Tainan district prosecutor's office said Thursday the building's developer, Lin Ming-hui, along with three employees of his Weiguan construction company and an outside consultant have been charged with professional negligence resulting in death.

Investigators said in a statement that Weiguan expanded the 17-story building's floor plan without increasing reinforcements and used inferior steel supports, resulting in a structure with 44 percent less load-bearing capacity than required.

The Weiguan Golden Dragon tower was the only building to collapse during the magnitutde-6.4 quake that struck the southern city of Tainan. Earthquakes frequently hit Taiwan but usually cause little damage due to stringent building regulations passed after a devastating 1999 quake.