Prosecutors in Taiwan today sought to detain three former executives of a real estate company that built an apartment complex which collapsed in an earthquake three days ago in the city of Tainan.
Charges of professional negligence resulting in death are expected after the 16-storey building collapsed in the 6.4-magnitude earthquake, causing 39 deaths at the latest count, with 109 believed to be still trapped under the rubble.
Hopes are fading for those trapped under the building. Despite ongoing rescue efforts no survivors have been found since yesterday, when four people, including an eight-year-old girl, were pulled from the wreckage
Two other people died elsewhere in the city as a result of the earthquake.
Questions have been raised about the building’s construction quality since it was the only major high-rise building in the city of two million people to have completely collapsed.
Speculation was stoked after rescuers found large cooking oil cans embedded in concrete pillars at the building, called Weiguan Jinlong, built in 1983.
However one structural engineer told Taiwan’s state news agency CNA that the use of such cans and other materials as cosmetic fillers – to make the pillars look bigger – was common before the practice was made illegal in 1999, and would not necessarily have been substituted for proper structural elements.
Hopes are fading for those trapped under the building. Despite ongoing rescue efforts no survivors have been found since yesterday, when four people, including an eight-year-old girl, were pulled from the wreckage.
CNA reports today that prosecutors are seeking the detention of the former chairman of the now-defunct developer, the Weiguan company, and two other former executives.
Photograph: The Weiguan Jinlong apartment building was the only high-rise to collapse when a 6.4-magnitude tremor struck Tainan at around 4 a.m. local time on 6 February (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)