Civil servant’s relatives rally to save homes

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 - Page 3

Descendants of former public servants who have lived in an old government dormitory community for decades yesterday protested in front of the Ministry of Justice to protest the ministry’s plans to tear down their homes.

The Huaguang Community (華光社區), a public property near Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, has housed public workers from the ministry and military personnel since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) fled to Taiwan in 1949.

After the original public servants passed away, the government allowed their descendants to live there for decades.

About 100 residents from the community gathered in front of the ministry asking it not to tear down their houses before helping them relocate elsewhere.

A representative for the residents, Yang Hsin-lei (楊鑫磊), said they had the right to live there.

In 2000, the ministry announced that the community would be torn down as part of an urban renewal project, but because the residents refused to move, former ministers did not carry out the project, Yang said.

However, when Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) served as premier during President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) first term, he ordered the ministry to carry out a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project for the urban renewal program as soon as possible, and he said the development program could not be postponed any longer.

Yang said Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) has proposed a public tender for the BOT project and that ministry officials had visited the community to tell residents that if they move, the ministry would not sue them for illegally profiting from public property, but if they stayed, lawsuits would be filed against them.

In response, the ministry said the Huaguang Community is public land and the decision to use it for an urban development project was legitimate.