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September 23, 2017

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Taipei mayor 'furious' at monument demolition

TAIPEI, Taiwan --  Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday reportedly displayed his dissatisfaction toward news of the demolition of a potential Taipei City monument, stating that the city government will seek legal action against the landlord of the property.

Ching Yun Court (清雲閣), a 15-unit construction in the Paotou Borough (寶斗里) of Wanhua District, was recently appointed as a potential monument by the Taipei City Government. The property once served as a legally operating brothel and has been listed as a potential heritage for its historical significance and in part to prevent the landowner of the property from demolishing the site for personal gain. However, all 15 units were torn down early Saturday morning by the landlord with the last name Chen against the laws protecting city monuments.

During the Taipei City Municipal Meeting yesterday morning with the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Urban Development and the Police Department, Hau stated that all controversies involving cultural assets are legally forbidden to go under further development without the consent of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Reportedly, Hau was furious at the issue, stating that that the landlord had ignored the jurisdiction of the Taipei City Government by openly defying public authority.

As a result of the allegedly illegal demolition, Hau has ordered the Taipei City Department of Legal Affairs to investigate Chen in hopes of revealing violations in property, public and labor safety, considering Chen's disregard of construction and management regulations and administrative notices.

During a visit to the demolished site, Taipei City Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚) stated that should similar violation occur in the future, the city government will take legal actions against such offenders. Chang went on to state that as current laws are not severe enough for such cases, he seeks to recommend an amendment to the central government so as to levy heavier penalties.

Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Liu Wei-gong (劉維公) told local reporters yesterday that as the landlord has illegally demolished the site without proper permit, Chen would be required to reconstruct the property.

Landlord Responds to Violation Accusations

In a press statement from the landlord of the demolished property, the landowner stated that no official notice from the city government that declares the historical and monumental significance of his property was ever received. The clearing of his property had begun on July 25, and not the reported date of Aug. 2.

Chen's lawyers has also stated that the landlord has no intension of defying public authority, and will seek to communicate with the city government this week.

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