The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee yesterday said it is probing the Sun Yat-sen Institution on Policy Research and Development, because it suspects that it was built on land illegally obtained by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime.
The institute’s land was privately owned until it was expropriated by the then-KMT regime in 1951 and zoned as “land reserved for government use,” said a committee member, who asked not to be named.
The KMT later transferred the land, placing it under the name of the Sun Yat-sen Institution on Policy Research and Development in Taipei’s Muzha District (木柵), committee members said.
Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times
Aside from a disputed plot that originally belonged to a family surnamed Yeh (葉), other properties were also seized by the government and later given to the KMT institution, which became the National Research Institute, they said.
The committee recently learned that a plot in Taipei’s Wenshan District (文山), measuring more than 4,600m2, which had belonged to the Ancestor Worship Guild, was expropriated by the government in 1951 at a price far below its market value, they said.
The information was verified after the committee launched an investigation and found that in 1969, the property was zoned as “land reserved for government use,” but was listed under the KMT’s name in 1972.
During the intervening period, the property was briefly used by the Ministry of National Defense to train KMT members, but no government agency was ever built on it, they said.
The facility, the founding director of which was Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), was used to train people chosen by the KMT, including high-ranking military officers.
The institution was renamed in 2000, and in 2005, then-KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) sold the premises, which occupied more than 17,000 ping (56,198m2) at NT$4.25 billion (US$139.28 million).
The original owners of the land in Wenshan likely did not know whether the Sun Yat-sen Institution on Policy Research and Development belonged to the party or the military, the committee member said, adding that the landowners later found out that the land had been obtained by the KMT, which later sold it to a development firm.
The KMT had promised the Taipei City Government that 5,800 ping of land from the plot would be donated for the relocation of the Taipei Municipal Yongjian Elementary School, with the land having been marked as for government use.
However, the city government later rezoned the land for residential use, allowing Yuanlih Group — which had purchased the land — to participate in a urban renewal project.
Taipei Urban Design Review Committee members who sanctioned the property sale knew that the land’s acquisition had been illegal, but issued a construction permit for urban renewal anyway, the committee member said, adding that this would likely be hard to swallow for the original landowners.
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