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June 27, 2017

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KDPO confirms LCY's was the only leak

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office (KDPO) yesterday said it is certain that a broken propene pipe section that belongs to LCY Chemical Corp. (李長榮化學工業) underneath one of the explosion sites is the only propene leakage that caused the explosions.

Over the past few days, the KDPO went down to a culvert underneath an intersection between Ersheng Rd. (二聖路) and Kaixuan Rd. (凱旋路) — one of the explosion sites — and inspected the propene pipes that belong to the state-owned CPC Corp., China Petrochemical Development Corp. (CPDC, 中石化) and LCY.

Kaohsiung prosecutors on Tuesday sawed off a 3-meter section of LCY propene pipe, because the surface of the pipe was rusted and suspected to be the cause of the fatal blasts.

Kaohsiung prosecutors yesterday said after inspections, they have excluded the possibilitiy of propene leakages from CPC or CPDC pipes, pointing out that there was a single leak point on LCY's propene pipe.

Prosecutors went on to say that Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) officials tested the pressure changes of the propene pipe in question, and they have concluded that the propene traveled to the culvert from the leakage, leading to the disaster, prosecutors said.

Seven people of interest, including CPC employees and China General Terminal & Distribution Corp. (CGTD, 華運倉儲) employees were summoned by prosecutors for questioning. They were later released without bail, the KDPO said.

Prosecutors Question Responsibility

Kaohsiung prosecutors pointed out that if the petrochemical pipes were buried in the soil in accordance with the law instead of exposed in the culvert, then despite the leak there would not have been the mass explosions.

Prosecutors said it was just a matter of time before one of the propene pipes, including CPC and CPDC's pipes, would lead to an explosion.

Prosecutors further said that whoever is responsible for the pipeline examination should have discovered that the pipelines were exposed in the culvert before the explosions occurred, noting that the party should hold itself accountable over the fatal incident.

As part of the investigation, the prosecutors said they are going to further investigate the construction of the culvert and the installation of the three companies' propene pipes.

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