A Taiwanese court has sentenced a party organizer to nearly five years jail for negligence. In 2015, a "color party" turned deady when multi-colored corn starch powder caught fire.
Judges at Taipei's Shihlin district court on Tuesday sentenced water park owner and party organizer Lu Chung-Chi to jail for four years and 10 months.
Lu was not present in the court when the judges read out his sentence.
"Most of the victims were very young and their wonderful lives were about to start. They had beautiful dreams to realize," a court statement said. "Because of the explosion, 15 of them lost their lives and most of the survivors suffered tremendous physical and emotional pain and torment. Relatives of the deceased suddenly lost their family members and suffered irreparable and excruciating pain and regret," the statement added, concluding that the explosion happened "due to the negligence of the defendant."
Families question verdict
Relatives of the deceased were angered at the judgment because Lu was the only official indicted over the disaster. Many protested outside the court on Tuesday, carrying banners with slogans such as "Return Justice and Fairness to me." Some relatives also expressed dissatisfaction at Lu's sentence, saying it was far too short.
The high prosecutor's office in Taipei said an investigation into eight other suspects in the case was being reopened, AFP news agency reported.
Lu Chung-Chi, the owner of Color Play Asia, organized an event at Formosa Fun Coast in June 2015. Disaster struck when colored corn starch sprayed on 1,000 party goers caught fire from the heat caused by the stage lights.
Fifteen people were killed and around 500 injured in the tragedy. Two-hundred of those injured suffered severe burns and are still undergoing rehabilitation.
mg/kms (dpa, AFP)