Sun, Mar 26, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Homeowner sues public servant over demolition

NOT IN THE ZONE:A man whose house was destroyed after it was damaged in a renewal project went to the mayor’s parents’ home, hoping he could stay with them

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

A Taipei resident surnamed Chang (張), whose home was torn down by SWJ Construction Co without his consent, has pressed charges against him, Taipei Department of Urban Development Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) said yesterday.

The Taipei Urban Regeneration Office, which is led by Lin, on Thursday proceeded to remove the wreckage of Chang’s home on Changan W Road, which had been left leaning after it was damaged by SWJ Construction earlier this month.

Chang’s home was on a plot of land zoned for a private urban renewal project. He is the only resident who is against the project.

Following the demolition, Chang accused Lin of destroying evidence in a criminal case, vandalizing private property, coercion, profiteering on behalf of a private firm and obstructing government duties.

Lin said he was at a loss as to why Chang is suing him.

The office had held two meetings in hopes of helping Chang and SWJ Construction settle their disagreement, Lin said, but Chang decided to file a criminal and a civil lawsuit against the developer.

The department had fined SWJ construction NT$90,000 (US$2,952) for the demolition of Chang’s house without his consent, Lin added.

The department removed what was left of Chang’s home on the recommendation of the city’s architectural, structural and civil engineering associations, which determined the building was beyond repair and posed a risk to public safety, he said, adding that the action was carried out according to the law.

Chang cannot be called an “opponent” of the project, because over the past five years, he participated in discussions and never signed any documents stating his objection, Lin said, accusing Chang of having “put on a show” because he wanted to gain a favorable bargaining position.

The city government’s Urban Regeneration Review Committee determined Chang’s property to be worth NT$23.8 million, but Chang demanded that SWJ Construction pay him between NT$88 million and NT$120 million, Lin said.

Chang should resolve the case with the developer in court instead of suing him, Lin said, adding that the charges Chang brought against him were a “vile attempt at slandering a public servant.”

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said the way Chang approached the issue was a “show.”

The mayor said Chang on Friday went to Ko’s parents’ home in Hsinchu in the hope that he could stay with them, but he was rejected.

SWJ Construction agreed to pay Chang his home’s market value in addition to payments for him to rent a home until a new building is erected on the plot.

Although SWJ Construction was wrong to damage Chang’s home, inspection results released by the three associations indicate that the building could collapse at any time and had to be removed, Ko said.

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