Authorities investigate arson at docks of Sun Moon Lake
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- A ferry was destroyed yesterday by fire at a dock on Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), and police believe arson may have been the cause.
February 1, 2013, 1:01 am TWN
Fire erupted on the vessel at approximately 2 a.m., was contained by the firefighters by 2:30 a.m. and extinguished at 2:50 a.m., according to authorities.
No one was harmed during the ordeal, and dock operation was unaffected.
A smaller vessel was seen approaching the destroyed ferry at 1:55 a.m., shortly before the ferry erupted in flames, according to an eye witness report.
The grief-stricken ferry operator and owner, surnamed Huang (黃), stated that he had always kept the vessel in good repair, and that it had just undergone an overhaul in anticipation of the tourist season during the Chinese New Year's holidays. He remains incredulous of the circumstances of the conflagration, which also destroyed an adjoining vessel.
Huang also stated that his destroyed vessel represents the loss of a historically important relic, as it was the designated vessel that carried esteemed former President Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).
Authorities are now investigating the case as arson, following Huang's testimony that he had been engaged in conflicts with competing ferry operators.
Huang claimed that he was accused by competitors of undercutting the conventionally agreed upon rates by initiating a NT$50 ferry-ride promotional program.
Huang also indicated that one of his signs advertising cheap ferry rides had been vandalized earlier.