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June 28, 2017

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Public land occupants prevent gov't construction

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The New Taipei City Government said yesterday that it was prevented from conducting land grading for the planned indigenous cultural area in Sanxia (三峽) by occupants of public land who demanded NT$120 billion for "land improvement" as well as "management and maintenance."

The project, which covers roughly 3 hectares of land, is intended to help a tribe of economically disadvantaged indigenous people — living beneath a bridge between Sanxia and Yingge (鶯歌) — build their own housing units, said Chiu Ching-pin (邱敬斌), acting head of New Taipei City's Urban and Rural Development Department.

A residential area, parking lot and an area for farming are all included in the project, Chiu said.

The city government dispatched construction workers to the site but they were prevented from carrying out their work by occupants of the land, Chiu said, adding that the occupants had been using the public land for farming illegally over the past 20 years.

The occupants demanded compensation for "land improvement" as well as "maintenance and management," Chiu said.

Despite the fact that the occupants had been using the land illegally, the city government decided to actively engage in dialogue in 2013 and give them NT$1.89 million as welfare, Chiu said, adding, however, that the occupants rejected the sum.

The occupants insisted on getting NT$120 million instead and said that they would prevent construction on the site if their demand was not met, Chiu said.

The city government, however, will not accept unfair and unjust demands such as these which have no legal basis whatsoever, Chiu said, adding that if communication fails, the city government will not exclude the possibility of forcibly carrying out the construction work.

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