Victims of Taiwan water-park blast demand action

TAIPEI • Victims of a water-park explosion that killed 15 and left hundreds with horrific burns rallied in Taiwan yesterday as anger mounts that only one person has been jailed over the tragedy.

It is more than a year since the blast at Formosa Fun Coast, near the capital Taipei, in which clouds of multicoloured corn starch sprayed on revellers at a poolside "colour party" ignited due to heat from stage lights.

Despite a probe being launched into nine suspects, the only one to be prosecuted was party organiser Lu Chung-chi, who was jailed for four years and 10 months in April for negligence causing death.

The others initially under investigation, including the chairman and president of the park, have not so far been brought to court over the disaster in June 2015.

Prosecutors have reopened the probe into the incident following an appeal by victims earlier this year, but no further indictments have been announced.

Survivors and families of the dead yesterday demanded that local government officials who allowed the event to go ahead should be brought to justice.

No government official has ever been named as part of the investigation.

Protesters gathered at the New Taipei City government building, demanding that its mayor, Mr Eric Chu, apologise and punish officials involved.

Victim Joyce Ku, 19, who suffered burns to 80 per cent of her body and is now confined to a wheelchair, demanded "justice and truth".

Almost 500 young victims, mainly aged between 19 and 25 years old, were injured in the blast. One of them is 19-year-old Singaporean Megan Loy who suffered serious burns on up to 80 per cent of her body. She underwent nine skin grafts and is now free of burn wounds.

Ms Loy, who started her medical studies at National University of Singapore this year, told The Straits Times her brush with death and stay in hospital made her determined to be a doctor.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Victims of Taiwan water-park blast demand action'. Print Edition | Subscribe