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MOI minister says Dapu appeal against ruling will 'hurt people'

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) wishes to create a “win-win” situation regarding the Dapu incident, and therefore will wait until it receives an official court verdict, discusses the matter with the Miaoli County Government and will then make a final decision, Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said yesterday.

Lee said in the past, when encountering a similar situation, the MOI would file an appeal against the ruling without any further consideration, but in this case it would “hurt people” and not be in the best interests of the public.

The minister said he cannot rely solely on the 100-word press statement released by the Taichung High Administrative Court to decide whether or not to appeal against the court's ruling, noting that a decision must be made after thorough consideration. Lee said he currently does not plan to communicate face-to-face with the members of the four demolished households.

Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chih (蕭家淇) said the ministry is currently reviewing the legal issues and considering possible compensation for the owners.

Hsiao said if the MOI decides not to file an appeal, then it means the MOI acknowledges the government illegally approved the Dapu urban development plan, and there will be political repercussions, so the MOI must wait until it studies the verdict before it makes a call on the matter.

Position Twist

Hsiao said during a press conference on Friday afternoon that the MOI will not make a decision on whether or not to appeal against the ruling for the time being. Later that night, Minister Lee told local press that the MOI “tends” not to file appeals, contradicting Lee's remarks made during the press conference.

When asked by reporters why the MOI changed its mind on the matter, instead of offering a direct answer Lee said “a final decision has yet to be made.”

The Taichung High Administrative Court on Friday issued a judgment against the MOI regarding the controversial demolitions of four Dapu households represented by nine plaintiffs in Miaoli County, ruling that the MOI must revoke the demolition orders.

Dapu Residents Want Their Lands Back

Thomas Chan (詹順貴), the attorney of the four demolished households, said if the MOI decides not to file an appeal, then the household members can choose to demand the government return the land to them or file for state compensation. Chan noted that the household members currently desire to have their lands back.

The Miaoli County Government in July 2013 demolished the four households against the owners' wishes. Several months later, Chang Sen-wen (張森文), one of the household owners, was found dead under the Dapu Bridge after an apparent suicide.

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Peng Hsiu-chun (彭秀春), one of the owners of the four demolished households in Dapu, Miaoli County and whose husband Chang Sen-wen (張森文) was found dead under Dapu Bridge on Sept. 18, 2013, stands on the original site of her house in Miaoli County, yesterday. (CNA)

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