Woman gets life imprisonment for Kaohsiung building fire that killed 46

08/05/2022 07:23 PM
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The Cheng Chung Cheng mixed-used commercial/residential building (right) in Kaohsiung is surrounded by fire engines and trucks after the deadly fire. CNA file photo
The Cheng Chung Cheng mixed-used commercial/residential building (right) in Kaohsiung is surrounded by fire engines and trucks after the deadly fire. CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 5 (CNA) A woman who started a fire in the Cheng Chung Cheng (城中城) mixed-used commercial/residential building last year that left 46 dead and 41 injured was sentenced to life in prison by the Kaohsiung District Court on Friday.

The court found Huang Ke-ke (黃格格) guilty of arson and manslaughter after judging that she had deliberately left the burning residue from mosquito repellant incense on a sofa in order to set fire to her boyfriend's apartment on Oct. 14 last year.

However, the court found the 52-year-old not guilty of murder -- a charge that could have carried the death penalty -- arguing that she had not started the fire with the intention of killing the building's occupants.

Considering the severity of the case, the court said Huang must serve a minimum of 25 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.

Prosecutors, who had originally indicted Huang on charges of homicide and offenses against public safety, said they would appeal the judgment.

Prosecutors argued that by starting the blaze in a densely populated building at a time when most residents were asleep, Huang had intentionally sought to kill an indeterminate number of victims.

Family members of those who died in the fire also expressed displeasure with the judgment, telling local media that Huang had shown a lack of remorse throughout the trial.

The fire in the city's Yancheng District was the second deadliest building fire in Taiwan after a blaze at the Weierkang Club in Taichung that killed 64 people in February 1995.

(By Hung Hsueh-kuang and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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