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Kaohsiung aims to seize LCY funds

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kaohsiung City Government yesterday afternoon went to the Kaohsiung District Court to apply for a provisional attachment against LCY Chemical Corp. (李長榮化學工業) in an attempt to prevent the firm from avoiding compensation payments over the fatal gas explosions.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) during the city's weekly meeting said that in order to ensure that the victims of the explosions receive their compensation, the city government decided to seize LCY — the petrochemical company suspected to be the culprit behind the blasts — assets and properties of NT$1.9 billion as a precautionary measure.

Kaohsiung Legal Affairs Bureau (LAB) Commissioner Tseng Ching-tsung (曾慶崇) later told reporters that the city government, as the petitioner of the provisional attachment, will deposit a guarantee of NT$600 million to the district court.

Kaohsiung Information Bureau Director-General Ting Yung-kung (丁允恭) said the NT$1.9 billion is an estimated cost for Kaohsiung to rebuild the damaged roads, noting that Kaohsiung will apply for another provisional attachment against LCY should the cost of reconstruction require more funds.

The city government said it has started to distribute subsidies to the victims for repairing their damaged houses. The port city further said that as of yesterday, the city has received a total of NT$1.646 billion in donations from the public.

Chen Kuan-rong (陳冠榮), one of the Kaohsiung explosion victims who is also a self-help organization member, yesterday went to the district court to apply for a provisional attachment of NT$4.5 million against LCY.

Chen Chao-hui (陳昭惠), representative for the deceased firefighters in the explosions, yesterday also filed an application to seize NT$2 million of LCY's assets and properties.

The Kaohsiung District Court said it has received the aforementioned three applications for provisional attachments against LCY, noting that it will request the three applicants to submit all the relevant documents and evidence to the court in three days. The court said it will soon make a ruling once it receives all relevant documents from the applicants.

LCY Response

LCY yesterday evening responded to Kaohsiung's application, saying that it will open a bank account and deposit NT$500 million for possible future compensation to the victims of the explosions.

LCY said the reason to open the bank account is to show the Kaohsiung City Government and the victims that the firm is willing to be responsible. The company stressed that it does not have the intention to sell its assets or properties to avoid potential compensations. LCY said the firm has nearly 5,000 employees and around 80,000 shareholders, stressing that it will continue operations.

The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office (KDPO) yesterday said that according to a culvert map provided by the Kaohsiung City Government, prosecutors discovered that the culvert underneath the intersection of Ersheng Road (二聖路) and Kaixuan Road (凱旋路) was unregistered. The KDPO is currently considering opening the entire culvert to examine all the pipelines, prosecutors said.

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Several of the Kaohsiung City Council's Democratic Progressive Party councilors protest at the LCY Chemical Co. (LCY, 李長榮化學工業) factory in Kaohsiung, yesterday. The councilors and residents are protesting against the company's alleged role in the gas explosions in Kaohsiung City last Thursday. (CNA)

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