Thu, Jun 05, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Suspend Taoyuan project: activists

KNOCK-ON EFFECT:Following allegations that Farglory Land paid bribes on a project in Bade City, opponents of the Aerotropolis demanded an administrative hearing

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu, second right, participates in a press conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday calling on the government to suspend a review of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project and hold an administrative hearing.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Opponents of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project yesterday asked the government to suspend a review of the project and hold an administrative hearing immediately after two of the key people involved in the project were accused of taking kickbacks from developers.

Former Taoyuan County deputy commissioner Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文) is suspected of accepting bribes from Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設) chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄), via a middleman Tsai Jen-hui (蔡仁惠), in a housing project in Bade City (八德).

Yeh was a member of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis — a project to develop a free-trade port zone surrounding Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport — zoning committee, while Tsai was a member of the urban planning review committee and Chao was the developer.

Because of the roles Yeh and Tsai played in the project, activists suspect that similar murky deals could have occurred.

Taoyuan resident and activist Lin Li-ling (林麗玲) said that the affordable housing project in Bade City only involved the development of 2.12 hectares, while the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project has reserved 16.73 hectares for affordable housing and 9.9 hectares for resettlement of residents relocated by the project.

The larger development area had made the project the main target of construction firms, she said.

Another local activist, Tsai Mei-ling (蔡美齡), said that she was asking the government to “give residents a break.” She said that the government had closed local residents’ access to Provincial Highway No. 4.

“An official even threatened that residents would be plagued by floods if they do not move out,” she said.

Taiwan Association for Human Rights executive secretary Wang Pao-hsuan (王寶萱) said that Farglory’s free-trade port zone occupies 45 hectares, but that only 13.73 hectares are actually being used.

She said that the government now wants to expropriate more than 100 hectares of land to expand the free-trade port zone, which is also one of the government’s proposed free economic pilot zones.

She questioned the legitimacy of further expropriation of people’s land given the fact that the regulations governing the free economic pilot zones have yet to be passed by the Legislative Yuan.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said that a report published by the Control Yuan had stated that the government did not choose the relocation option most favorable to the public when executing the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project.

DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Jean Shen (沈啟) had promised to hold an administrative hearing about the project, but that this had not happened.

CAA Deputy Director-General Fang Chih-wen (方志文) said that the administration had held an exploratory session in April on the use of farmland by the project and would hold a preparatory hearing in October.

He said the scandal happened within the Taoyuan County Government and not at the CAA.

The Construction and Planning Agency’s Urban and Rural Development Branch Director-General Hung Chia-hung (洪嘉宏) said the government is unlikely to call a halt the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project because Yeh and Tsai are involved in a bribery scandal.

“The Ministry of Interior is launching an investigation into Yeh and the results could affect whether the project will continue,” Hung said.

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