A protest against an urban development project in Taipei’s Shilin District (士林) yesterday descended into violence after the construction firm involved sent workers to clean up the site, drawing new attention to a controversial project that has been stalled for more than three years.
The urban renewal project, approved by the Taipei City Government, has been stalled despite the government sanctioning the demolition of two houses belonging to a family surnamed Wang (王), who were against the project. The family and a group of supporters have camped out at the site ever since and are insisting that the construction firm rebuild their houses.
The latest clash occurred yesterday morning when Le Young Construction Co (樂揚建設) placed a dumpster on the site and started to clean up debris.
Photo: Huang Chi-hao, Taipei Times
The move was met with a protest by the Wang family and their supporters, who pushed and shoved the construction workers, accusing them of trespassing on private property.
Amid the clashes, a member of the Urban Renewal Victims’ Alliance, surnamed Kuo (郭), accused construction workers of pushing him and tearing his pants, while police stood by.
“The urban renewal project is a violent collaboration between the city government and the construction firm,” he said.
Some construction workers also accused the protesters of injuring them during the clashes and they filed complaints with the police.
The construction company defended the legitimacy of its actions by producing a document that it claimed said the city government had asked the firm to clean up the site ahead of further construction.
However, the city’s Construction Management Office denied issuing any document asking the construction firm to clean up the site.
The Taipei City Government has been criticized over its handling of the project, under which the construction firm plans to turn an old residential complex of 38 households into a 15-story high-rise apartment block. It evicted the Wang family in March, despite ongoing protests, and later agreed to help the Wang family and the construction firm negotiate over the project.
Members of the Wang family yesterday said they would not agree to the project unless the construction firm rebuilt their houses on the site.
Although the family has refused to give up its land, the construction firm had already received the consent of more than 75 percent of the landowners on the site. However, the deadlock over the project continues as negotiations between the construction firm, the Wang family and the other landowners have failed to reach an amicable conclusion.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official