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June 26, 2017

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Interior Ministry suggests relocating Dapu homes

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) yesterday said to rebuild the demolished households at other sites is one of the options pertaining to the Dapu (大埔) verdict, stressing that the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has not yet made a final decision.

The Taichung High Administrative Court recently issued a ruling against the MOI regarding the Dapu land expropriation project of Miaoli County (苗栗縣), the verdict of which demands the MOI to revoke its demolition orders of four Dapu households. The MOI is still to decide whether or not to appeal against the ruling before Jan. 29.

A high-ranking MOI official was quoted by local media on Tuesday as saying that basically, the MOI tends not to "proactively appeal" rulings, noting that the ministry would assist the Chang Pharmacy, one of the four demolished households, to pick up an alternative site for reconstruction. However, the option is not suitable to the rest of the three households, as their demands are unreasonable, the source said.

The source further noted that Miaoli's attitude is "slightly softer" compared with a while ago, but to rebuild the Chang Pharmacy at the original site is not possible.

Media reported that Miaoli elected representatives are currently serving as intermediaries between the Miaoli County Government and the four households, adding that next week the MOI will make its decision and report it to Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義).

In response to the report, Hsiao said the MOI has not made a final decision yet, noting that if the MOI chooses other options over appealing, it has to consider if Miaoli is capable of carrying out the other options, and whether the four households could accept it. Therefore, the MOI has to listen to the opinions of Miaoli and the four households before making a call, he added.

No Direct Contact with Households Yet

Hsiao said the MOI recently met Miaoli County Government once, and has been discussing the issue on the phone, nevertheless, no consensus has made so far. As for the four demolished households, Hsiao said the MOI has not contacted them yet.

The Taiwan Rural Front and Dapu Self-Help Organization — an advocacy group yesterday released a press statement saying that the four demolished households' only request is that the government to rebuild their homes at the original site and at the same time to amend the expropriation law.

The activist groups urged the MOI and Miaoli to admit their mistakes, and start an official negotiation with the Dapu residents over the issue.

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