Water park operator interrogated by police in dust explosion case

07/08/2015 08:02 PM
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Formosa Fun Coast Chairman Chen Po-ting (陳柏廷), CNA file photo
Formosa Fun Coast Chairman Chen Po-ting (陳柏廷), CNA file photo

Taipei, July 8 (CNA) Formosa Fun Coast (八仙樂園) Chairman Chen Po-ting (陳柏廷) was interrogated at a New Taipei police station on Wednesday as police try to figure out who was responsible for explosions at the water park in late June that left hundreds injured.

Chen, along with Formosa Fun Coast general manager Chen Hui-ying (陳慧穎) and administrative director Lin Yu-fen (林玉芬), was questioned at Luzhou Police Station about the company's involvement in the disaster.

It was the first time Chen Po-ting had appeared in public since nearly 500 people were engulfed by intense flames generated by colored powder explosions at a Color Play Asia party held at the water park on June 27.

Three of the injured have since died from the severe burns they sustained while 424 people are still hospitalized and 225 are in critical condition as of Wednesday at noon, according to Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics.

Responsibility for the disaster has been unclear because Formosa Fun Coast provided the venue for the party, but it was organized by Lu Chung-chi (呂忠吉), the head of a local marketing firm, and promoted by a third company, Juipo International Marketing Co. (瑞博國際整合行銷).

Among the issues the police may have been trying to clarify was the contractual relationship between the three parties in organizing the event and whether conditions at the venue contributed to the accident.

The three Formosa Fun Coast executives were released after being questioned, but the police said they were listed as being under suspicion of professional negligence resulting in death, without providing further details.

As he left the police station, Chen Po-ting said he felt "very sorry for the victims, and I hope they make an early recovery."

"I will take whatever responsibility I should," he said.

Chen's failure to make any public statements on the accident had been harshly criticized, including by New Taipei Deputy Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), who blasted Chen for not apologizing for the disaster and accused him of trying to evade responsibility.

The Taipei Shilin District Prosecutors Office, meanwhile, said Wednesday that it had listed five persons as possible suspects in the dust explosions, including Lu.

The office released Lu on bail of NT$1 million (US$32,000) and prohibited him from leaving the country after questioning him on June 28.

Other main suspects were Juipo's hardware technician Chiu Po-ming (邱柏銘), special effects technician Liao Chun-ming (廖俊明), worker Shen Hao-jan (沈浩然), and Lu Chien-yu (盧建佑), who was responsible for blowing colored powder at the party.

Chiu was also banned from leaving the country after being released by the district prosecutors office on NT$300,000 bail. The other three were released without having to put up bail.

(By Liu Shih-yi and Elizabeth Hsu)ENDITEM/ls

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