The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the Taiwan High Court’s ruling in favor of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, revoking the Broadcasting Corp of China’s (BCC) ownership of eight lots in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋). Yesterday’s decision was final.
According to the decision, the original three plots of land — later subdivided — in Banciao were state properties that the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government took over from the Japanese following World War II.
The case began in 2004 when the ministry, under the then-Democratic Progressive Party administration, filed a civilian lawsuit against the BCC’s claims of ownership of the land that the ministry said was stolen from the state.
The properties were listed as national property and entrusted to the ministry and the then-KMT’s Central Committee Radio Broadcasting Station, the organization that preceded the BCC. The BCC was owned by the KMT until 2005.
The BCC, citing the change of management agency as a reason, transferred the managing organization in charge of the land to the BCC in 1980, and in 1985 also transferred ownership of the land to the corporation.
The three plots were later split into eight plots.
According to the ministry’s complaint, all eight pieces of land should be state property. It asked the court to verify that the state was the rightful owner of the land, according to Article 28 of the National Property Act (國有財產法).
In its defense, the BCC said that all eight pieces of property were signed under the BCC’s name in July 1947 — before the act was implemented in 1969, adding that since it received the property from its predecessor, it is not public property as defined under the act.
In the first and second trials, the court ruled in favor of the BCC, saying that the properties were given to the BCC under government sanction and the broadcaster was therefore the owner of the properties.
The ministry appealed the case with the Supreme Court, which revoked the previous rulings and sent the case back to the Taiwan High Court for retrial.
The High Court’s retrial panel ruled the plots were state property as the the BCC was entrusted with properties, including the eight plots in question, that had to do with radio broadcasting during the Japanese colonization of Taiwan, but that it did not mean the BCC inherited ownership of those properties.
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