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China Daily Website

Officials investigate villa in shape of temple

Updated: 2013-08-22 09:03
By Jin Haixing ( China Daily)

An investigation has been launched into a temple-shaped villa on top of an apartment building in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, a week after a massive rooftop structure in Beijing was ordered to be demolished.

Officials investigate villa in shape of temple

Netizens said the temple-shaped villa on top of a 19-story apartment building in Shenzhen is the "most impressive" illegally constructed rooftop building to be exposed online. Lu Li / for China Daily

Photos posted online of the villa showed features of a traditional Chinese-style temple with golden roof tiles and upturned eaves adorned with carvings of dragons and phoenixes.

Many Internet users said the construction was "most impressive" even in comparison to the controversial 800-square-meter luxury villa in Beijing that was ordered to be demolished on Aug 12.

The temple-shaped villa, that towers atop a 19-story apartment building in the Meijia Park community in Shenzhen, was built around 2005, according to the city's urban patrol officers, or chengguan.

Investigators met difficulty on Monday when they failed to reach the villa's owner for questioning concerning the lawful construction of the structure, said Liu Minxing, deputy head of the urban patrol officers on Shahe Street, where the community is located.

Liu told China Daily on Wednesday that urban patrol officers have made at least six unsuccessful attempts to contact the owner after officers received a tip from a whistle-blower on Aug 14. Officials did not receive any complaints prior to the tip from the whistle-blower, who police declined to identify to China Daily.

However, when questioned, neighbors complained of incense ashes, which sometimes entered their houses during religious ceremonies held in the villa, said a report by the local newspaper Nanfang Daily.

The villa, surrounded by trees, is difficult to identify from the ground, and residents said they only noticed it after local media reported on it.

"I did not notice the structure or the construction. After reading the news reports, I'm worried about the safety of the building and I support a plan to demolish it," said a woman surnamed Zhang.

"We should respect the religious beliefs of the owner if it was built for religious use. However, if it is deemed as illegal by the authorities, it should be demolished because it occupies a public space, or it should be moved elsewhere," a teacher surnamed Liang, who works in the community, said.

Urban patrol officers said they plan to ask the fire department to open an emergency passage to gain access to the villa for an on-site investigation.

Meanwhile, urban patrol officers asked for legal advice from local property supervision departments and sent officers to patrol the community to locate the property's owner, said Liu, head of the urban patrol officers.

Residents interviewed by China Daily said the property management office, which refused to comment on the case, should be held responsible as construction of the villa was completed many years ago.

Chen Wenli and Zhu Jing in Shenzhen contributed to this story.


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