Sat, Dec 27, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Resident blasts KMT kleptocracy

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei resident Yeh Sung-jen points to a map showing tracts of land that he said the KMT illegally appropriated from his family.

PHOTO: CHU PEI-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

A resident of the Mucha District of Taipei City called yesterday for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to return his land that the government occupied in 1954.

Yeh Sung-jen (葉頌仁), whose father owned four plots of land in the Mucha District, told a news conference at the legislature that the former KMT authorities illegally appropriated his land to build a party institute.

Yeh is the first citizen to seek the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) help in recovering lands taken by the KMT after the DPP legislative caucus launched a center to help people fighting against the former government.

Members of the DPP caucus urged the KMT to compensate people whose lands had been stolen during its 50-year reign.

"Many of the lands owned by the KMT resulted from its injudicial acquisition of civilian property," DPP legislative leader Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.

He argued that the former ruling party should be challenged over its means of obtaining a number of properties, despite claims by the KMT that it acquired the land legitimately.

The DPP caucus' complaint center is designed to provide legal advice to victims of the KMT's theft and help them fight for compensation, Chen said.

Yeh said the former government took his four plots without the consent of his family.

"The KMT built the branch office for its research institute on my lands without my permission. The party eventually agreed to sign a lease with my family after my continuous petitioning for seven years. But the KMT insisted on paying a rent that was much lower than the tax that I was charged by the government for owning the land," Yeh said.

The KMT proposed buying Yeh's properties in 1962, but at an unreasonably low price. Yeh and his family rejected the offer.

"When I learned that there was no hope of getting back the lands on which the KMT had built its office, I negotiated with the party to sell the land for NT$1.6 million, half the market value. But the KMT rejected my request and instead forced me to sell the land for less than NT$40,000," Yeh said.

He said the KMT registered the properties as party assets after failing to reach an agreement with his family.

DPP Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) demanded that the KMT compensate Yeh for occupying the family's lands, now estimated at NT$1.6 billion in market value.

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