A hearing is to be held next month on the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) controversial acquisition of a plot land in Taipei’s Muzha (木柵) area, whose former owner claimed the KMT forcibly bought the property at an unreasonably low price, although a court decades later ruled that there had been nothing illegal about the transaction.
The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee in March announced that it would investigate the KMT’s acquisition of the plot that is now part of the 8,300 ping (2.74 hectare) site housing the party’s National Development and Research Institute to determine if the deal involved any impropriety
It has scheduled a hearing for June 6.
“The hearing would not be an investigation into whether the acquisition had been forced, as that had already been decided by a court, but into whether the KMT had acquired the land at a disproportionately low price,” committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said.
The disputed 1,820 ping plot was bought by the KMT in 1964 from Yeh Chung-chuan (葉中川), whose family sued the party over the acquisition in 2007.
Yeh’s family had acquired the land in 1939, but the Imperial Japanese Army then occupied it and built a prisoner-of-war camp.
The land was later taken over by the KMT after it retreated to Taiwan after losing the Chinese Civil War.
In 1961, Yeh reportedly offered to sell the KMT the land at NT$200 (US$6.2 at the current exchange rate) per ping for a total of NT$364,004, but the party did not accept it.
Yeh was visited in 1962 by four armed men — who arrived in two military jeeps — led by a KMT official and a local township official who invited him to “have a cup of tea” to discuss the land sale, according to the testimony Yeh’s wife, Yeh Chang Shu-chin (葉張淑津), gave in court in 2007.
Yeh Chung-chuan signed a contract with the KMT to sell the land for NT$191,100, the committee said.
The KMT had the land transferred in to its name and deposited NT$19,000 — about one-10th of the amount in the contract — with the courts, but Yeh Chung-chuan refused to accept the money, which allowed the KMT to take over the property without compensation.
The Yeh family sued the KMT in 2007, claiming that Yeh Chung-chuan had been forced to sign the contract.
In the final verdict in the case, a court in 2011 ruled in favor of the KMT, saying there was no evidence that Yeh had been forced to sell.
The KMT yesterday said the case had been subject to judicial scrutiny, and the contract between Yeh and the party was legal.
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