Cashbox Partyworld KTV chairman Lien Tai-sheng (練台生) was yesterday released on bail of NT$1 million (US$33,323) after being questioned by Taipei prosecutors over a fatal fire last month at one of its karaoke clubs.
Prosecutors questioned the 69-year-old media tycoon over the April 26 fire, which killed six people and injured dozens. Lien and several other people have been listed as defendants in the case and face charges of negligent homicide, endangering public safety and breaches of the Fire Services Act (消防法).
The fire at the Cashbox branch on Linsen N Road is suspected to have been caused by a device that was left charging in a storage room on the fourth floor by a maintenance worker surnamed Wang (王), prosecutors said.
Investigators found that all five major safety systems at the site — an indoor fire hydrant, an automatic sprinkler system, an automatic fire alarm, an emergency broadcasting system and smoke extraction equipment — were not functioning during the fire, prosecutors said, adding that it later discovered that the safety systems had been deliberately turned off by the establishment.
Prosecutors on April 27 questioned Wang and released him on bail of NT$100,000. They also questioned three Cashbox staff and an assistant to Wang, and were released on bail of between NT$100,000 and NT$300,000.
Lien was also banned from leaving the country, pending further investigation, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said.
Lien is one of the nation’s leading media tycoons whose broadcasting empire includes ERA Communications Inc, operator of ERA Television (年代電視), which covers three commercial cable TV channels.
He took over as chairman of ERA Communications in 2005, acquired Cashbox Partyworld KTV in 2008 and in 2013 took over Next TV Broadcasting (壹電視廣播), which operates Next TV News (壹電視新聞台) and two other TV channels for entertainment and movie programming.
Prosecutors said Lien is also the owner of Tee Kuang International Co, which leased the building on Linsen N Road to Cashbox.
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