Thu, Apr 05, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Conflict of interest alleged in demolition

IN THE KNOW:A media report says a Taipei consultant was made an independent board member by Le Young Construction because of his government connections

By Lin Hsiang-mei and Huang Chi-hao  /  Staff reporters

People look at an exhibition yesterday about the Wang family, whose houses were demolished after the Taipei City Government forcefully evicted them as part of the Wenlin Yuan urban renewal project in Shilin District.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

An independent board member of the construction company involved in Taipei’s controversial Wenlin Yuan urban renewal project also serves as a consultant for the Taipei City Government, according to a media report yesterday, raising questions about possible collusion between government officials and businesspeople.

The latest issue of the Chinese-language Next Magazine names Huang Po-yi (黃博怡) as the Le Young Construction board member and also says that Tuan Yu-lung (段幼龍), the president of the firm, is an old acquaintance of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌).

Huang was named a city government consultant in 2006 during the administration of then-Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the report said, adding that since 2009, the construction company has had Huang serve as an independent board member because of his government connections.

In response, Taipei City Government spokesperson Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) yesterday said Hau was not acquainted with Tuan and that Huang had been made an “unpaid” consultant because of his financial expertise.

The city had no knowledge that Huang later became a Le Young board member since consultants are not required to notify the city government of their positions in private corporations, Chang said.

Asked if Huang would be reappointed as a consultant, Chang said the city government might not reappoint Huang because of his conflict of interest.

The city government’s forcible eviction on March 28 of a family surnamed Wang (王) from their homes in Shilin District (士林) to make way for a new housing complex has met growing outrage.

On Tomb Sweeping Day yesterday, the Wangs gathered at the site where their homes once stood to worship their ancestors and the immortals, saying they prayed that one day their family could return to live where their ancestors lived.

As early as 7am, Wang Kuang-shu (王廣樹), accompanied by members of his family — including his wife and children — appeared at a warehouse where their items are stored to clean the table on which immortals’ statues and an ancestral tablet are placed. They also brought offerings with them to pay respect to the immortals and their ancestors.

Wang said that while the city government had formed a task force to discuss making changes to the Urban Renewal Act (都市更新條例), he believed the city was not sincere because only one person — attorney Tsai Chih-yang (蔡志揚) — on the independent advisory panel had knowledge of the entire situation.

Wang said the city government was trying to blame everything on the Ministry of the Interior and had already come to the conclusion that what had happened to his family was only a dispute between a construction firm and a household that did not agree to take part in an urban renewal project.

Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff writer

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