In the southern city of Kaohsiung, an inferno broke out raging through multiple floors of a 13-story apartment block which resulted in 46 people dead.
The person responsible for the island’s deadliest fire was a Taiwanese woman who made an attempt to get back at her boyfriend, suspecting he was cheating on her.
She is identified by her family name “Huang”, and authorities stated that left unextinguished incense ashes on a sofa upon leaving the building.
“Huang intended to light a fire to cause an incident and embarrass her boyfriend, leading to a major disaster and the loss of many innocent lives. She has shown no remorse and her attitude is bad … (prosecutors) recommend that the court impose capital punishment to serve as a warning” Kaohsiung district prosecutors’ office said.
Huang initially claimed she threw the incenses into a garbage bin but then said later on that couldn’t remember what she did.
She then later admitted to lighting sandalwood incense as an incentive to repel mosquitoes but has given inconsistent statements on what she did before leaving her room.
Due to evidence and inconsistent statements, prosecutors on Friday charged Huang on murder and arson, and even included that she should get the death penalty for deliberately starting the fire to get back at the boyfriend.
This blaze incident in Taiwan put emphasis on safety standards and exposed the poor living conditions of the elderly in a rapidly aging population and infrastructure.
Taiwan is one of Asia’s most progressive democracies and markets itself as a regional bastion of human rights despite having drawn criticism from the international community and local rights groups for continuing to enforce the death penalty.
Since 2010, 35 prisoners have been executed after it was resumed after a four-year hiatus.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s government pledged to phase out executions despite two that have taken place since she was elected in 2016.
As of now, there are 38 death-row prisoners, including one woman.