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September 21, 2017

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Dapu villagers lose battle to keep 4 homes

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Miaoli County yesterday demolished houses in Dapu Village in order to proceed with a development plan, as supporters of the homeowners protested in front of the Presidential Office.

Miaoli County Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) said that the local government chose Thursday to start demolition work on the four houses considering that pressure from the protesters had abated due to their presence in the capital.

"The government initially scheduled the dismantling of the houses for the 22nd," Liu said, "but after receiving the news that many protesters planned to go to Taipei for a press conference, officials decided to execute the demolition earlier."

"This is like an opportunity bestowed by the heavens," said Liu.

"If there were over 200 protesters at the scene of the demolition, it would be impossible for the workers to do their jobs.

"The demolition must be carried out and there is no room for negotiation anymore," Liu said.

There were some protesters and house owners at the scene of the demolition, trying to stop the workers from tearing down the houses. Protesters and the police clashed during the demolition while a house owner's wife fainted and was sent to the hospital immediately.

"The Miaoli County Government did try to contact the house owners," Liu said, "but after Taiwan Rural Front (TRF, 台灣農村陣線) started to intervene in the dispute, the owners broke off all contact with government officials."

According to the Miaoli government, if the urban development plan that has been approved is not executed, the government would be the one violating the law.

Cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said that as long as Miaoli executed the decision made by the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA), the Cabinet will respect the local government's authority.

As part of the government's so-callled "urban renewal plan," the Miaoli government has designated an area in Dapu for the construction of a science and industrial park, which would require the demolition of some residential properties.

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