Color party in­jured count rises to 524

Gov­ern­ment bans or­ga­nizer from leav­ing na­tion, in­ves­ti­gates causes

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY YUAN-MING CHIAO

As the num­ber of in­jured in yesterday’s col­ored pow­der fire dis­as­ter in New Taipei rose to 524, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials banned the event or­ga­nizer from leav­ing the coun­try and fo­cused on de­ter­min­ing the cause of the dis­as­ter. Ac­cord­ing to health of­fi­cials, more than 200 are suf­fer­ing from se­vere in­juries.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred at ap­prox­i­mately 8:40 p.m. Satur­day in New Taipei’s Bali Dis­trict, where a fire broke out among a packed crowd of hun­dreds, many of them young stu­dents and teach­ers. The im­me­di­ate cause of the dis­as­ter is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ear­lier, pros­e­cu­tors from New Taipei’s Bali Dis­trict held event or­ga­nizer Lu Chung-chi ( ) for ques­tion­ing. He was later re­leased af­ter post­ing NT$1 mil­lion bail, though he must pe­ri­od­i­cally re­port to po­lice and is barred from leav­ing the coun­try pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Po­lice also re­leased Chiu Po-ming, the tech­ni­cian at the com­pany headed by Lu on NT$300,000 bail. Chiu is also barred from leav­ing Tai­wan. Af­ter be­ing re­leased on bail, Lu, while clasp­ing his hands to­gether also knelt on his knees and apol­o­gized to vic­tims while an­swer­ing ques­tions from re­porters. He stated that his mind was in a “state of chaos,” but that he would take re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou who vis­ited burn vic­tims at Taipei Vet­er­ans Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal yesterday af­ter­noon said that the gov­ern­ment will fo­cus all ef­forts on med­i­cal re­lief for vic­tims, as well as on de­ter­min­ing the par­ties re­spon­si­ble for the dis­as­ter while as­sist­ing those af­fected and their fam­i­lies in re­ceiv­ing com­pen­sa­tion. New Taipei City is cre­at­ing an in­ter­de­part­men­tal task force to deal with med­i­cal treat­ment, dis­as­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tion and com­pen­sa­tion. The pres­i­dent stated that Premier Mao Chi-kuo ( ) will be in­sti­tut­ing an im­me­di­ate ban on such events.

Over half of the vic­tims are be­ing treated at 15 sep­a­rate hos­pi­tals lo­cated through­out Taipei City. The city’s Depart­ment of Health is urg­ing all res­i­dents to re­frain from di­vert­ing much needed emer­gency hos­pi­tal re­sources to non-ur­gent cases. City of­fi­cials from the Depart­ment of So­cial Wel­fare have al­ready set up posts in hos­pi­tals and are dis­tribut­ing con­so­la­tion money to vic­tims’ fam­i­lies. New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu ( ) has co­or­di­nated with po­lice and fire of­fi­cials in neigh­bor­ing Taipei and Taoyuan City for ad­di­tional re­sources.

Tal­lies by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in­di­cated that nine burn vic­tims are for­eign pass­port hold­ers, in­clud­ing revel­ers from Ja­pan, Europe, Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore. The Main­land Af­fairs Coun­cil con­firmed later that five of the in­jured are from Hong Kong and two are main­land Chi­nese stu­dents.

Those in­ter­ested in do­nat­ing med­i­cal sup­plies that are in crit­i­cal de­mand, in­clud­ing med­i­cal dress­ings, sur­gi­cal gloves, burn oint­ments and gauze should call (02)-2258-1753.

CNA

CNA

(Above) Lu Chung-chi ( ), event or­ga­nizer of the “Color Play Asia” party at Formosa Fun Coast Wa­ter Park, kneels and apol­o­gizes af­ter ques­tion­ing by pros­e­cu­tors, yesterday. Lu em­pha­sized that he would shoul­der re­spon­si­bil­ity for the dis­as­ter. (Right) The play­ground of New Taipei City’s Formosa Fun Coast Wa­ter Park ( ) is seen in the af­ter­math of a Satur­day evening ex­plo­sion of col­ored pow­der, yesterday.

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