Parts of '77 Chateau' built on public land demolished
By: Chi-hao James Lo, The China Post
December 17, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Yangmingshan Management Bureau demolished parts of the “77 Chateau” yesterday after owner Liu Cheng-chi (劉政池), brother of Miaoli County Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻), failed to fulfill terms of his affidavit to demolish illegally built parts on his own initiative.
Liu Cheng-chi had previously presented an affidavit last Friday assuring the bureau that he would tear down illicit buildings built upon national land on his own before Dec. 15th. However, with three roadblocks set up to barricade demolition teams deployed by the bureau, along with a petition to the Taipei High Administrative Court to cease action filled the same day on which he had promised to perform the demolition, Liu sought to defend his “property” by simultaneously employing two tactics.
The incident has also brought to light an illegal lobbying scandal between Liu Cheng-hung and former bureau director Tsai Po-lu (蔡佰祿) to cover up illegal actions exposed by Taipei City Councilman Ho Chih-wei (何志偉) which were conducted on over 200,000 square meters of land.
Liu Cheng-chi has been accused by workers, the allotment of whose wages he withheld or delayed, of illegal excavations, including digging secret tunnels and opening roads to the 77 Chateau, as well as acquiring licenses by means of pressure through the abuse of his brother's political influence. The accusations date back to as early as 2004, with several complaints exposing Liu's illegal use and ownership of the land as well as his indiscriminate use of certain parts of the plots for storage and construction expansion. Most seriously, Liu is said to have deforested a sizable area on the land to plant agarwood, know for its distinctive aroma and fragrance and especially its status as a potentially threatened species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Liu's actions in 2004 were proven to have violated both the Soil and Water Conservation Act and the National Park Act. However, though the accusations were said to have been resolved through fines, Ho discovered further documented expansions of construction and deforestation since 2004. Due to the location of the 77 Chateau and his planting of agarwood, Liu's actions have been suspected to constitute an ambitious development of an agarwood-themed hot spring resort that would also incorporate Yangmingshan National Park as one of its attractions.
Following the overruling of Liu Cheng-chi's petition, three obstacles — a newly installed gate, an excavator and a Mercedes-Benz — were used in an attempt to hinder the advancement of bureau representatives into the property yesterday afternoon. With Liu evidently lacking in sincerity, the bureau entered the premises through an alternate route on national land and tore down the illegally erected barricades, wall and gates in their path.
An excavator deployed by the Yangmingshan Management Bureau is seen while demolishing a part of the “77 Chateau” that was proven to have been illegally constructed on national ...