The Taichung District Court late on Thursday approved prosecutors’ request to detain a man after a case of suspected arson caused extensive damage and burned down buildings at a night market earlier that day.
The court approved the detention of the 27-year-old man, surnamed Lin (林), to prevent him from fleeing, prosecutors said, adding that Lin would likely face arson charges, with a minimum sentence of five years in jail if he is found guilty.
Lin started behaving erratically at about 3am on Thursday, witnesses reportedly said.
He allegedly turned the valve of a gas cylinder belonging to a steak eatery in Taichung’s Jhonghua Street Night Market, lit the leaking gas and fled the scene, police said.
Two police officers pursued Lin, with one officer sustaining scratch wounds on the arm when Lin tried to resist arrest, witnesses said.
The fire was brought under control by firefighters and extinguished after four hours, causing heavy damage to 16 buildings.
There were no fatalities due to timely evacuations of nearby residents, while four people sought treatment due to smoke inhalation injuries.
Taichung Fire Department official Chen Le-yi (陳樂憶) said that 36 fire trucks and 113 firefighters were deployed and the blaze was put out shortly before 8am.
Property damage is likely to amount to several million New Taiwan dollars, Chen said.
Lin was quoted by police as saying that he had started the fire because he was in a bad mood, adding that he took amphetamine at home earlier.
While wandering the streets, he felt like someone was trying to kill him, he allegedly told police.
No illegal drugs were found on Lin, but urine samples were taken to determine whether he had consumed any illegal substances, police said.
‘HUMILIATING’: Aletheia University students called on the school to apologize for limiting former professor Chang Liang-tse’s access to its Taiwan literature archive The Aletheia University Student Association yesterday called on the university to apologize to retired professor Chang Liang-tse (張良澤) after it prevented him from accessing the Taiwanese literature archive at its Tainan campus by changing the lock on the building. Last month, the university changed the lock on the building without warning, barring Chang’s access to the archive that he had “singlehandedly established,” Chung Yen-wei (鍾延威), the son of the late writer Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政), wrote on Facebook on Friday. The university in 1997 created the first department of Taiwanese literature in the nation, and Chang, now 82, was the department’s first-ever chairman,
ALLEVIATING FEARS: The CECC would only announce public places where it is difficult to identify everyone there at the same time as the couple, minister Chen said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced six places where two locally infected COVID-19 cases had visited between Thursday last week and Sunday, urging people who had been at the places at the same time to monitor their health. The couple, cases 838, a doctor, and 839, his nurse girlfriend, were reported by the center on Tuesday. The doctor had treated a patient with COVID-19 last week before he began suffering symptoms on Friday, while the nurse began suffering symptoms on Saturday. They work in the same hospital in northern Taiwan, but the nurse had not worked with COVID-19 patients, so
SECOND RULING: Israeli-American Oren Shlomo Mayer refused to sign a court transcript, complained about the court translator and said the trial had been unfair The High Court yesterday upheld New Taipei City District Court’s verdicts on four men convicted last year in connection with the 2018 murder and dismemberment of a Canadian citizen on the banks of the Sindian River (新店溪). It found American-Israeli Oren Shlomo Mayer and American Ewart Odane Bent guilty of homicide and the abandonment and destruction of a corpse, with Mayer sentenced to life in prison and Bent given a term of 12 years and six months, for the death of Sanjay Ryan Ramgahan, whose body parts were found in a riverside park under Zhongzheng Bridge in New Taipei’s Yonghe
A lawyer and a prosecutor yesterday castigated what they called a lenient ruling by the High Court on Luo Wen-shan (羅文山), whose prison sentence was reduced to two years, which he does not need to serve, after he was convicted for receiving illegal political donations from China to meddle in Taiwan’s elections. Investigators found that Luo, who retired from the army with the rank of lieutenant general, had accepted NT$8.38 million (US$294,604 at the current exchange rate) under the guise of political contributions from Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference member Xu Zhiming (許智明) and people in Hong Kong from 2008 to