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September 19, 2017

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Dapu ruling may harm nation: Magistrate Liu

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Miaoli Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) said yesterday that the recent court ruling on the government's handling of the Dapu (大浦) project may have negative implications for Taiwan's economic development.

Last Friday, the Taichung High Administrative Court ruled that the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) had violated regulations in its handling of the project.

Liu yesterday relayed his thoughts on the ruling to the media for the first time.

"If all development projects need to be judged by courts in the future, then I don't know what to do next. Taiwan is an island-state and needs to develop its economy. How can our citizens live a good life without development?" said Liu.

Liu also made a comparison between mainland China and Taiwan.

Mainland China has seen rapid development in recent years, but in Taiwan, a single project may take up to five years to complete, the magistrate said, adding that the Dapu case may cause future projects to be delayed even longer.

The ruling on the Dapu case may seriously affect future projects, given that many similar projects may require the court's approval before they can be carried out, Liu said.

When asked whether or not an appeal will be filed against the ruling, Liu said that he has yet to receive notice from the MOI.

Peng Hsiu-chun (彭秀春), a Dapu resident whose house was demolished, said that her family's wish is to get their home back.

Central Government Response

Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said yesterday that the MOI is leaning away from appealing the case ,but that it will conduct further deliberations on the matter.

The minister added that he hoped land expropriation projects would not be stigmatized because of the outcome of the Dapu case.

Lee added that the MOI will deal with the case very carefully since it may be used as a model for similar projects in future.

"We do not want to cause any confrontation in the future, so we are hoping that we can find a balance in the best interests of both sides," Lee said.

In response to concerns over economic development, Lee said that land expropriation will hopefully not be looked down upon, because there are many major government policies that necessitate land expropriation.

Presidential Office spokeswoman Garfie Li (李佳霏) said President Ma Ying-jeou has demanded that the Executive Yuan and the MOI deal with the case appropriately.

Meanwhile, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) expressed his concern over the case, saying that he felt sorry for the unfortunate incident and that the government needs to push for improvements if mistakes were made.

If no mistakes were made, the government should communicate with residents to make the situation clear to all citizens, the vice president added.

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