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Dapu owners want state compensation
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-11 04:38 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The owners of the four demolished homes in Miaoli County’s Dapu said Tuesday they would demand government compensation.

County chief Liu Cheng-hung’s decision to send in the bulldozers to raze the buildings in a neighborhood of Chunan last July to make way for a science park project provoked nationwide indignation and protests.

The government should not only pay for the rebuilding of the four homes on their original site, but it should also sue Liu for compensation, the owners and their representatives said at a news conference Tuesday.

Both the Ministry of Interior and the Miaoli County Government did not file appeals against last month’s verdict by the Taichung High Administrative Court that the destruction of the buildings was illegal because the MOI had failed to conduct the necessary review before approving the county plan to demolish the homes.

Only last week, Liu said he would not spend one cent of county taxpayers’ funds in compensation.

Social activist and attorney Chiu Hsien-chih said Tuesday that after the verdict, there was no doubt the government bore the responsibility to issue state compensation to the four families. Existing legislation stipulated that civil servants who violated the rights of a member of the public were liable for compensation, he said.

Only if rebuilding the homes was impossible, would the law turn to monetary compensation, according to Chiu. He added there was not a single issue that might prevent the houses from being rebuilt. In the case of the Chang family pharmacy, all which needed to be done was the erasing of a pedestrian crossing and construction work could begin, Chiu said.

Owners and their relatives said reconstruction was the only outcome they wanted, no matter which government was in office. They told reporters they were not interested in stealing or taking away land, only in receiving back what was theirs in the first place.

Candidates for the November 29 county magistrate election should promise to approve the reconstruction of the buildings at their original location, a local politician said.

The Miaoli County Government reportedly refused to comment on the news conference.

According to its original arguments, the site of the four homes needed to be cleared to allow safe access for traffic to the science park.

The Dapu case led to a widespread social movement and protests against Liu and central government leaders, including President Ma Ying-jeou, wherever they went.

The owner of the pharmacy demolished last summer, Chang Sen-wen, disappeared in October and was found dead drowned in an irrigation canal after an apparent suicide, further enraging locals against Liu.

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