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June 27, 2017

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Regulated local expropriations to continue

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said during the Cabinet's weekly meeting yesterday that before the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) makes a further decision over the Dapu verdict, local governments should carry out land expropriation projects in accordance with current regulations and schedules.

The MOI received the official Dapu verdict from the Taichung High Administrative Court yesterday morning, saying that it will make a decision on whether or not to appeal against the ruling before Chinese New Year.

The court on Jan. 3 issued a judgment against the MOI, ordering the ministry to revoke the demolition orders of four households in Dapu Village (大埔) of Miaoli County (苗栗縣).

Deputy Interior Minister Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) yesterday said that the ministry will hold meetings to discuss the matter with the Construction and Planning Agency, Department of Land Administration, domestic experts and local governments including the Miaoli County Government.

Hsiao said the law stipulates that once the ministry receives an official verdict, it must respond to the court within 20 days, noting that as the ruling will affect other land expropriation cases, the MOI needs time to consider every potential outcome and listen to opinions from the aforementioned parties before making a final decision.

During the Cabinet's weekly meeting yesterday, Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) expressed his concerns, saying that the Dapu verdict has caused confusion within local governments in terms of how to carry out expropriations.

Liu said as Kaohsiung has many ongoing land expropriation projects, he hopes the national government will explicitly tell local governments how to handle land expropriation projects.

Noting that there are many ongoing land expropriation cases across the nation, the deputy mayor said he hopes the government will "not throw away the apple because of the core," or obstruct the nation's economic development because of the case.

In response, Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said no matter if an individual case or general cases, the MOI will make a thorough consideration, and make a final call within 20 days.

Lee further suggested that local governments should carry on the original schedules regarding any ongoing land expropriation projects while the MOI reviews the matter.

The premier said the Cabinet had explicitly expressed its position to the MOI when the Taichung High Administrative Court made the ruling, noting that the Executive Yuan suggests the MOI should study the verdict carefully and handle the matter cautiously.

Taiwan Rural Front spokeswoman Frida Tsai (蔡培慧) said the four household members' homes have already been ruined, and the other 19 plaintiffs did not win their lawsuits, urging the MOI not to file an appeal against the ruling.

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