Thu, Sep 09, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Bureau censured over golf courses

UNRESPONSIVEThe Control Yuan said golf courses had been occupying public land for years and the property bureau did nothing until an investigation was launched

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Control Yuan censured the National Property Bureau yesterday for having failed to establish an effective monitoring mechanism for the use of public land, leading to large swathes of land being illegally occupied by golf courses.

The government’s top supervisory arm said in a statement that a total of 111 parcels of public land covering a combined area of 16.67 hectares had been illegally used by 15 golf courses until early this year, when a Control Yuan team stepped in to investigate the situation.

The team was assembled after the Control Yuan received an appeal saying that the Formosa First Country Club in Lujhu Township (蘆竹), Taoyuan County, had ­broken land use laws.

After a thorough inspection, the team headed by Control Yuan member Chou Yang-shan (周陽山) discovered that illegal land occupation is rampant among local golf courses. Not only had the Formosa First Country Club illegally occupied national land, but also 14 others throughout the country, including the Tashee Golf and Country Club in Taoyuan County, the Pei Tou Kuo Hua Golf and Country Club in Taipei City and the Linkou lnternational Golf and Country Club in Taipei County — some of the most prestigious clubs in Taiwan.

“Some of the land parcels have been occupied since before January 1978, with the latest case ­dating back to July 1998,” Chou said.

The National Property Bureau did not address the issue until April this year, and only upon learning that the Control Yuan had begun an investigation, Chou said.

“The bureau finally directed its branch offices in various parts of Taiwan in April to check the use of public land lots under their jurisdiction and has since been taking rent for the land from the golf courses in question,” Chou said.

It is regrettable that the bureau failed to fulfill its official duty of protecting national property and sat on its hands by allowing golf course operators to use public land for free for such a long time, he added.

In response, National Property Bureau Director-General Chang Pei-zhi (張佩智) said his agency had yet to receive the Control Yuan’s statement and could not comment on the matter.

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