Residents of military dependents’ villages across the nation protested outside the Control Yuan in Taipei yesterday, demanding that the government drop its eviction lawsuits.
Dozens of protesters from the National Alliance of Legal Self-constructed Residences Against Forced Evictions joined in the demonstration, saying that the Ministry of National Defense was illegally seeking to force them out of their homes.
“We have legal ownership of the buildings, even though the underlying land belongs to the government,” Songshan Airport Public Housing Self-help Association head Kuo Tai-sung (郭泰松) said. “If the government decides to take back the land, should it not be responsible for finding another place for us to live?”
The government seized and auctioned the land after suing him for making “illicit profits” by occupying government land, he said.
Lee Chen-hua (李震華), a lawyer, criticized the Act for Rebuilding Old Quarters for Military Dependents (國軍老舊眷村改建條例), which allows the government to evict residents who refuse to agree to urban renewal projects.
The act fails to take into consideration that some of the housing is legally owned by the residents themselves, he said, calling on the Control Yuan to request that the Council of Grand Justices rule on the constitutionality of the act.
The villages were constructed by the government to house military dependents following the retreat to Taiwan after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was defeated in the Chinese Civil War.
“If you buy a house and the owner does not own the underlying land, you know something is fishy,” Political Warfare Bureau Military Dependents Service Department Director Kao Shih-huan (高士桓) said.
In many cases the housing was constructed or renovated with partial government funding, including provisions that the buildings be publicly owned, Kao said.
Occupants would be provided with compensation in all cases where they are the owners of the buildings, he said, adding that government would not evict owners as long the buildings are only being used as their residence.
“We have only been suing people who are using the buildings as shops or businesses,” he said.
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
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