Suspect in fatal arson attack held incommunicado - Focus Taiwan

Suspect in fatal arson attack held incommunicado

Taipei, Dec. 15 (CNA) A man suspected of setting fire to a residence in the southern city of Tainan that killed seven people Saturday, was ordered held incommunicado by a local court on Sunday.

Tainan District Court chief judge Lin Fu-lai (林福來) made the ruling, saying that the suspect surnamed Tseng (曾) had confessed to the arson and manslaughter.

Based on evidence collected by prosecutors and police, Tseng was deemed by the court to have been involved in the fire and, given the minimum penalty of five years in jail, considered a flight risk, Lin said.

Seven people were killed and two injured in the blaze at the three-story building in Tainan's Yujing District early Saturday. The residence was used as a retreat for followers of the Yi Kuan Tao religious sect, according to the city's Fire Bureau.

Although 39 of the 46 residents managed to escape, seven were trapped in the building and died, the bureau said.

The Tainan District Prosecutors Office said Sunday that forensic examination of the bodies has been completed, indicating the victims all died of severe burns and suffocation.

Hours after the incident, 21-year-old Tseng, who has a history of theft, destruction of property and the obstruction of a public official performing his or her duties, called police claiming he set the blaze.

(By Chang Jung-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu)

Enditem/AW

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