Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) The Hualien District Court on Tuesday sentenced three people involved in the construction of a Hualien residential building to five years in prison each for 14 deaths resulting from the partial collapse of the building during an earthquake last year.
The court announced the sentences for the developer of the building, Liu Ying-lin (劉英麟), along with the construction project's architect, Yu Te-jung (游德榮) and the civil engineer, Chen Chen-hsiang (陳禎祥), on charges of negligent homicide.
The ruling can still be appealed.
The magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck eastern Hualien at 11:50 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2018, with an intensity level of 7 -- the highest level on Taiwan's 7-tier intensity scale -- felt in Hualien City.
The earthquake killed 17 people when four buildings partially collapsed, including 14 in the lower floors of the 12-story Yun Tsui residential building, which also housed a restaurant and hotel.
Following a four-month investigation by Hualien prosecutors, the three people were indicted June 15, 2018 for flaws in the design, construction supervision and construction of the building.
Prosecutors said that Liu's company was found to have no construction license as a qualified developer and to have no professional skills in construction but still took charge of the construction project.
Liu used another company's license, employed Yu to design and oversee the construction for him and asked Chen to sign a statement of structural engineering qualifications for the building, the prosecutors added.
The building was constructed using cheap and inferior materials as Liu tried to reap large profits by keeping his costs down, according to the prosecutors.