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LCY ordered to cease operations

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kaohsiung City Government yesterday ordered LCY Chemical Corp. (李長榮化學工業) to halt all operations until its plan to boost pipeline safety is reviewed by the government.

According to the Kaohsiung government, the reason behind the pause is the same as the Ministry of Economic Affairs' (MOEA) previous order in 2011 for the Formosa Plastics Group to halt operations at its factory in Yunlin County, as it was crucial for the government to ensure the safety of the petrochemical pipelines.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) noted her support and approval of the city's Economic Development Bureau (EDB) and Labor Affairs Bureau.

The explosions caused severe casualties, deaths and damage; the people have lost confidence in the city's infrastructure, said Kaohsiung's EDB Director-General Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生). “According to Article 21 of the Factory Management Act, the government calls upon LCY Chemical to halt its operations immediately, and to review the safety of its manufacturing equipment and to improve the petrochemical pipelines running within and outside the LCY factories,” said Tseng. “The people are expecting the government to do something after the explosions, and the government cannot allow (LCY) to continue its actions.”

Tseng went on to explain that the shared pipelines between different factories in the city's industrial area were not necessarily located within the designated factory property, yet were still categorized as an extension of each factory's equipment. “The safety of the pipes and the responsibility for safety would consequently belong to the said factory,” said Tseng.

Should LCY refuse to pause its operations, the government will notify the power company and the water company to stop providing the corporation with electricity and water. “If LCY feels the decision unjust, it is allowed to file for an appeal the next day,” said Tseng.

Mayor Approves of Official Resignations

One day after four of the southern city's leading political officials tendered their resignations to Chen, the mayor announced her approval and stated that the resignations will take effect after the relief work ends.

Deputy Mayor Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀), Water Resources Bureau head Lee Hsien-yi (李賢義), PWB head Yang Ming-chou (楊明州) and MRTB head Chen Tsun-yung (陳存永) all decided to step down on Thursday in order to take responsibility for the explosions.

Chen praised the four officials for their willingness to take responsibility in the wake of Kaohsiung's crisis, and refuted accusations that the four officials were trying to shed responsibility by “cutting off their tails and running away.”

“Government officials are supposed to be responsible and take the brunt of things,” said Wu.

(Related stories on page 16)

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This photograph taken yesterday shows the intersection between the Yisin Rd. (一心路) and Kaixuan Rd. (凱旋路) in downtown Kaohsiung. The Kaohsiung City Government yesterday said reconstruction work was temporarily suspended after the discovery of gas coming from the pipelines underneath the intersection. (CNA)

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