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Taiwan Quake: Developer of Building Where Dozens Died Is Arrested

by Reuters /

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Prosecutors in southern Taiwan have arrested the developer of a building which collapsed during the recent earthquake, killing at least 39 people, officials said Tuesday.

The quake struck at about 4 a.m. Saturday (3 p.m. Friday ET) at the beginning of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Rescue and recovery work has focused on the wreckage of the 17-story Wei-guan Golden Dragon Building, in Tainan, where more than 100 people are still missing and suspected to be buried deep under the rubble.

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Questions have been raised about the building's construction quality, especially materials used to build it.

Hsiao Po-jen, director of the legal affairs department of the Tainan city government, told Reuters that Lin Ming-hui, the Wei-guan Golden Dragon Building's developer, was arrested Monday evening on suspicion of negligent homicide, citing information from police and prosecutors.

The 17-storey apartment building was the only high-rise in Tainan to completely collapse.RITCHIE B. TONGO / EPA

Witnesses at the scene of the collapse have seen large rectangular, commercial cans of cooking-oil packed inside wall cavities exposed by the damage, apparently having been used as building material.

Local media outlets have also reported the presence of polystyrene in supporting beams, mixed in with concrete.

The Wei-guan, completed in 1994, was the only major high-rise building in the city of two million people to have completely collapsed.

Its lower stories, filled with arcades of shops, pancaked on top of each other before the entire U-shaped complex toppled in on itself.

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