Move floating palace, millionaire warned

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-21 08:07
Large Medium Small

A local court in Shenzhen city has urged the developer of an illegal luxury villa floating on the sea in Guangdong province to vacate the occupied sea space as soon as possible, or the villa will be destroyed.

After an investigation, local authorities have concluded that the Shenzhen Elite-Off-Shore Entertainment Company had not obtained the proper license to use the sea, so the company must move the villa and receive a fine, the Guangdong provincial Oceanic and Fisheries Administration said yesterday in a statement.

An inspection on any other possible illegal sea use will also be held soon across Shenzhen, it said.

But the administration did not disclose how the villa should be moved or how much the fine is.

Related readings:
Move floating palace, millionaire warned Floating palace may be sunk
Move floating palace, millionaire warned Illegally-built floating palace may be demolished

However, the country's major news portal yesterday reported that the floating villa, costing nearly 100 million yuan ($15 million), is likely to be forcibly demolished, citing a local sea management officer.

The villa's owner, Guo Kuizhang, said yesterday: "I have no choice but to leave it there and see what will happen."

Guo, a successful businessman in commercial real estate development, told China Daily over the phone that the so-called illegal villa is actually an oceanic entertainment project.

Because the country has no laws regulating oceanic entertainment projects, the local government allowed its construction in 2008, Guo said.

An official from the State Oceanic Administration who refused to be named told China Daily yesterday that such a case has never happened before, making it difficult to find the right department to solve the issue.

Guo started building the villa, with a Southeast Asia architectural style, in 2003 on fish rafts in Dongshan Bay at Nan'ao, in eastern Shenzhen, more than 50 km away from downtown. He later expanded the project to cover a sea area of more than 3,000 sq m in mid-2004, earning a reputation as the "palace on the sea".

The villa is held in place by 39 anchors, each weighing 1,000 kg, and supported by more than 3,000 foam cushions, allowing it to stay on the sea like an island regardless of the ebb and flow of the water.

Only invited guests are allowed in the palace. Some have written online about its stunning luxury, including expensive furnishings, numerous antiques and a small horse-breeding farm.

Guo often uses the villa for parties and celebrations and sometimes hosts more than 100 people and arranges fireworks displays, which could cause structural problems or set fire to other wooden rafts, officials from the local oceanic authority have said.

The Longgang district oceanic bureau held its first investigation in 2005 and later the case was transferred to the Shenzhen oceanic bureau. On Jan 5, 2007, authorities asked the company to move out of the sea, but to no avail.

Last January, the Longgang district oceanic bureau handed down a fine of 711,000 yuan to the company and asked the company to move the villa, but still, nothing happened.

On Nov 3 last year, the Longgang district oceanic bureau asked the local court to force the palace to be moved or else destroyed, and on Nov 20 last year, the court released the final verdict for the compulsory execution.