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Police grab 8 for smashing homes

Police grab 8 for smashing homes

Updated: 2012-03-23 07:41

By Zhou Huiying in Harbin and Zhao Yinan in Beijing (China Daily)

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Her neighbor, Zhang Shengli, suffered a rib injury trying to fight off the intruders.

Police say one of the suspects, who claimed to be jobless, told them he was hired by a demolition company to level a few houses, "hoping those who witnessed the scene will be scared and move out".

Most residents in the community were former employees of a tractor plant, and only one of the tenants has a home ownership certificate.

According to local regulations on shanty settlements, residents who do not have an ownership certificate will be compensated 800 yuan ($127) per square meter. But residents say the amount is far below market value and have refused to accept it.

Liu Guihua, a project manager with Harbin China Youth Development Company, denied they had ordered the demolition and said they suspect "someone was staging a show to catch public attention".

Liu stressed the 800 yuan compensation rate was in line with standards set by the local government for those who did not own the property.

Excessive demand for urban land for property development often causes problems, such as hasty land grabs and forced evictions.

"It was illegal for the demolition team to carry out eviction during the night, as this was outlawed in January in the newly adopted Administrative Coercion Law," said Wang Xixin, a law professor at Peking University.

A clause in the law rules out forced evictions during holidays or at night, unless there is an emergency.

Ying Songnian, a legal professor who helped draft the regulation, said it will take time for local governments to adapt to new rules that are designed to "curb administrative power".

Demolition crew sentenced

Six people who caused the death of a resident during a forced demolition last year in Jilin province have been convicted of involuntary killing in a court on Wednesday.

Wang Haibin, the prime culprit, received a sentence of five years in prison, and his accomplices will be imprisoned from three to four years.

Wang, along with five other employees from a local demolition agency, was found guilty of accidentally killing a resident who failed to get out of her house when Wang's demolition team tore down a compound in Jilin's capital Changchun on March 26, 2011.

Liu Shuxiang, 48, was buried under the debris when Wang's team demolished the compound to make way for a commercial property.

Judges of the Liaoyuan Intermediate People's Court on Wednesday ruled that Wang and his team committed the crime of involuntary killing because they failed to set up necessary warning signs.

The case, along with 10 other cases where deaths were caused by forced demolitions, was made public by the central government in September to warn against local governments' misbehavior.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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