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Prosecutors Conclude Hualien Train Derailment Case and Bring Charges

  • Publication Date:
  • Last updated:2021-04-19
  • View count:926

On 2nd April 2021, at 09:28 NST, approaching the north entrance of Qingshui Tunnel in Hualien County, a southbound 408 Taroko Express train, carrying 498 people, collided at high speed with an illegally operated crane truck that had slid down a slope onto the track just a minute before. The resulting accident left 49 people dead, including one French national and two Americans, and over 200 injured.

Prosecutors found the accident resulted from a construction site manager, Li, and his Vietnames aide, Hwa, trying to pull the truck with a lifting rope tied to a backhoe on a slope, but negligently slipped down the truck. When Li and Hwa saw the truck slide onto the track, they neither called the Taiwan Railways Administration to stop the train, nor took sufficient measures to warn the train conductor. After the crash, Li did not call police or 119 for help, and Hwa just ran away.

Investigation also showed two supervisors of the construction site failed to fulfill their duty. As prescribed by law and regulations, supervisors are obliged to set up safety fence along the slope. They even got informed a truck was stuck on the slope in January 2021. The two supervisors are well aware of danger and the damage it caused if the truck slid, but still do nothing. Prosecutors charge these 4 people with negligent homicide and demand severe punishment.

In addition, by thoroughly analyzing phone logs and relevant documents, prosecutors also found Li illegally submitted his bid for the construction contract to TRA under the name of Dong-Hsin Construction Limited(DHCL). Since Li and his company are not qualified for bidding the TRA’s contract, Li and his accomplice, Lin, made a deal with the owner of DHCL, Hwang, that Li and Lin will finish construction alone, and DHCL will earn profit of 4 percent of the contract sum, which violates Government Procurement Act and Tax Collection Act.

Six prosecutors work full-heartedly and conclude the complex case within just 14 days to reveal the truth. Cooperation among prosecutors, police, investigators from MJIB and Agency Against Corruption had led to the success of the investigation. Taiwan Transportation Safety Board also provided significant assistance. Prosecutors will keep looking into if Li, DHCL and TRA employees are involved in other criminal activities.

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