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Taiwan seeks detention of developers of toppled building

Published 09/02/2016

Rescue workers using diggers continue to search the rubble of a collapsed building complex in Tainan, Taiwan (AP)
Rescue workers using diggers continue to search the rubble of a collapsed building complex in Tainan, Taiwan (AP)

Prosecutors have requested the detention of the developers of a building in southern Taiwan that collapsed following a strong earthquake, killing dozens of people.

The Tainan District Prosecutors Office said Lin Ming-hui and two other former executives, Chang Kui-an and Cheng Chin-kui, were suspected of professional negligence resulting in death, Taiwan's official Central News Agency reported.

The office requested their detention to prevent collusion or other acts that could disrupt the investigation, CNA said. The three were summoned by prosecutors on Monday and a hearing on the matter is being held later.

FTV and other Taiwanese broadcasters said Lin had changed his name after a previous bankruptcy and had run a multitude of companies.

The death toll in the quake stood at 41 on Tuesday afternoon, with all but two of the deaths coming in the building collapse.

More than 100 people are believed to still be trapped in the debris.

Shoddy construction is suspected as having contributed to the disaster, with the 17-story Weiguan Golden Dragon - built in 1989, the only major building to collapse in the quake.

Although the shallow quake was potentially devastating, few buildings were damaged as a result of strict construction standards in force in Taiwan, an island that is frequently struck by quakes.

Most of the 320 people who were rescued from the disaster were saved in the hours immediately after the quake, in which the building collapsed onto itself before toppling over onto its side.

Earthquakes rattle Taiwan frequently. Most are minor and cause little or no damage, though a magnitude-7.6 quake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2,300 people.

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