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After searching 23 locations and questioning 109 people, prosecutors say that abuse at a construction site may have caused the crash

  • By Jason Pan / Staff Reporter

Prosecutors yesterday indicted seven people in connection with the derailment of the Taroko Express No. 408 in Hualien County on April 2, in which 49 people died and more than 200 were injured.

Among the defendants were Lee Yi-hsiang (李義祥), the driver of a crane truck that fell on the tracks and hit the train; his Vietnamese assistant Hoa Van Hao; and United Geotech Inc (聯合 大地 工程) and Tung Hsin Construction (東 新 營造) employees who were doing construction near the crash site, Hualien District Attorney Chou Fang-yi (周芳怡) said.

Lee, who owns the Yi Hsiang (義 祥 工業 社) industry, was charged with negligence, which resulted in death and property damage. She caused a public transport accident, escaped from the scene, forged documents, engaged in fraud and violated the Public Procurement Act (Gesetz 採購 法), she said.

Photo: Wang Chin-yi, Taipei Times

Hoa, who was near the construction site at the time of the crash, and Chang Chi Fu-tsai (張齊富 財), an occupational health and safety inspector at United Geotech, were charged with negligence that resulted in death, she said.

Lee Chin-fu (李進福), a United Geotech construction inspector, has been charged with negligence in causing deaths and forgery of documents, she said.

Tung Hsin director Huang

Ping-ho (黃 平和) and Lin Chang-ching (林長清), a site manager, were charged with violating the government procurement law, she said.

Huang’s son, Huang Wen-li (黃文利), who is listed as the owner of Tung Hsin Construction, has been charged with accounting fraud, tax evasion, forgery of business documents, and misleading information about work processes and project progress.

Prosecutors accused Tung Hsin of violating the public procurement law, Chou said.

The investigation is still ongoing and three other suspects could be charged, she said.

They are Yang Chin-lang (楊金郎), an engineer who allegedly licensed Tung Hsin to win the tender for the project, Hsiung Teh-yu (熊德育), a construction manager with the Taiwan Railways Administration ( TRA)) Hualien Engineering Section and Pan Tang-yi (潘 堂 益), a senior engineer for the section, said Chou.

Prosecutors said they conducted searches in 23 locations and interviewed 109 people. Lee Yi-hsiang and Hoa found that improper handling of the crane truck and an excavator could have caused the crash.

Fraudulent business practices could also have contributed to Taiwan’s deadliest train wreck in Taiwan in 40 years.

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