Fund for abused homeowners set up

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 August, 2007, 12:00am

Owners who have been attacked by developers of Guangzhou properties are setting up the mainland's first 'owner relief fund'.

The move comes after a number of owners, unhappy with their properties, were beaten by thugs hired by the developers.

Sun Weili, the organiser of the Guangzhou Owners Social Club, said the fund would also be used to provide financial support to new committees formed by owners whose applications to developers for repairs had been rejected.

'We want to tell the gangsters and the small number of developers who commit crimes that owners are not isolated because we will support them,' he said.

The disputes between developers and owners have been a major issue on the mainland in recent years. Dozens of owners have been assaulted while protecting their rights.

A homeowner in Panyu, Li Gang, was beaten by a dozen security guards at his house in February last year and suffered a damaged spleen.

Members of committees set up to protect owners' rights had also been severely hurt, Mr Sun said.

He said the club had collected about 400,000 yuan for Mr Li and 40,000 yuan for another owner injured several months later. However, they were finding it difficult raising funds to help people who had suffered more recently.

They had raised only 4,000 yuan for Liang Wenxiang, an owner attacked by a Guangzhou real estate developer and several of his employees when he was trying to establish an owners' committee to manage their properties, he said.

The club, which is focusing on helping owners protect their rights, knew it was extremely hard to set up a fund on the mainland but 'what we are trying to do is to give owners confidence and reduce the bloody tragedies that also hurt social harmony', Mr Sun said.

Li Yingqiu , the head of a Guangzhou owners committee who suffered leg and neck wounds in an attack by hired gangsters last month, said the fund was necessary for rights activists like him. Otherwise, he said, no one would dare to fight the developers' illegal activities.

He said that owner rights were fraught with danger in Guangzhou and nationwide because developers were accustomed to using violence against owners who could hurt their interests.

'Our property owners are disadvantaged groups and no organisation can legally represent us,' he said. 'If nobody helps you even when you are hurt in public matters, I am afraid that all rights activists will give up. That is exactly what the developers want.'