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Court rules against family in Wenlin Yuan case

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei High Administrative Court yesterday ruled against the Wang family, who refused to re-locate for the Wenlin Yuan (文林苑) urban renewal project.

Upon hearing the verdict, a member of the Wang family asked “What have I done wrong?”

The Wang family previously owned two homes that were located within the project's scope. Last year, the Taipei City Government razed both domiciles against the family's wishes. The family still insists on rebuilding their two homes at the construction site.

The Wang family filed an administrative litigation against the Taipei City Government, requesting the government annul its urban renewal decision and rebuild the property.

However, the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled that the Taipei City Government had acted in accordance with the Urban Renewal Act and therefore did not violate any laws.

Wang Kuang-shu (王廣樹), a member of the family, said that the government cooperated with real estate developers to demolish his home. He asked in a press conference, “Do we really have to settle with real estate developers? We never said we wanted to participate in a co-op project.” He said the family will appeal until the very end.

The Justices of the Constitutional Court indicated in April that the Urban Renewal Act needs amendment, as the regulation requires a low threshold — consent by merely one tenth of residents — before an urban renewal project can proceed. This does not sufficiently protect the public's interest, the justices said, adding that the act was unconstitutional and should be amended within a year.

Taipei City Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-e (張金鶚), a former professor of land economics at National Chengchi University, said he respects the court's judgment and that he hopes the case could be resolved as soon as possible.

Dapu Trial Opens

Another trial involving the government's demolition of civil residences at Dapu (大埔) opened yesterday. Residents who refused to relocate filed litigation against the Ministry of Interior for its unlawful confiscation of land.

The attorney representing the residents claimed that “the only reason for the demolition was to hike up land prices.” During the trial, some protested outside the court calling for “annul confiscation and return my land.”

As part of the government's 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. Conflict between the residents and the government have caused much rancor.

The Taichung High Administrative Court ruled in June 2011 against residents who had refused to relocate. The residents decided to appeal. The court is expected to make a judgment in the near future.

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The Wenlin Yuan (文林苑) construction site is seen in Taipei. The Wang family filed a lawsuit against the Taipei City Government for unlawful confiscation of their land, but lost the case in a court ruling yesterday.


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