A section of Yuemei Road near Lingquan Zen Temple, Keelung City, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A 58-year-old Taiwanese contractor was sentenced to six months in jail by the Keelung District Court on Monday for being responsible for a road-expansion project where an accident killed two construction workers and injured one, all Indonesians, in March last year.

The accused was a formwork contractor working on Phase 2 of the expansion of the Yuemei Road overpass, a project aiming to improve connections between Xinyi district of downtown Keelung City and Ruifang district in the eastern suburbs of New Taipei City, The United Daily News reported.

The contractor allegedly hired three Indonesians named Muhammad Yusuf, Nikwanto and Kodri, who were identified as illegal migrant workers as they did not have valid work permits after leaving their original employers.

On March 27, 2017, while the three were dismantling the formwork of the overpass, some steel forms collapsed, causing the men to fall to the ground from the tall concrete column.

Yusuf was pronounced dead at the scene from severe multiple fractures, while Nikwanto was pronounced dead in hospital by 3pm that day due to skull fractures and multiple injuries to the internal organs. Kodri survived but sustained injuries.

As the defendant pleaded guilty to professional negligence leading to the deaths of the two workers and paid compensation to the victims’ families, the court handed down a relatively light sentence of six months in jail, or a fine in lieu of incarceration.