Taiwan party organiser jailed for almost 5 years for fireball that killed 15

The organiser of a party which saw a fireball rip through a Taiwan waterpark, leaving 15 dead and hundreds injured, was jailed for almost five years Tuesday as the court cited the “excruciating pain” of the bereaved. Lu Chung-chi, owner of Colour Play Asia, was behind the event at which coloured corn starch being sprayed on around 1,000 partygoers ignited under the heat of stage lights last June, sending them running for their lives. Lu, who was not in court, was found guilty of negligence causing death at Taipei’s Shihlin district court as relatives of victims gathered outside waving banners calling for justice.

Most of the victims were very young and their wonderful lives were about to start. They had beautiful dreams to be realised.

A statement from the court

A statement from the court after the verdict paid tribute to the young victims of the tragedy – and revealed that one bereaved father had taken his own life in grief. Almost 500 were injured in the blast at Formosa Fun Coast, more than 200 of them seriously. Horrific video footage showed revellers – mostly aged between 18 and 25 – screaming as they tried to escape the raging flames. Some were left with more than 90 percent burns, in some cases leading to amputations. The only undamaged skin on some survivors’ bodies were the parts covered by swimsuits. The case has angered grieving relatives and the families of the injured as only Lu was indicted over the disaster. He was one of nine people investigated, including the chairman and president of the water park.

At least the charges were held up, but this is not enough for the relatives. Four years and 10 months is too little.

Julie Wang, spokeswoman for a victims’ association