As the tycoon stands trial for economic crimes, shutters close on Holland Village All that remains of Yang Bin's extraordinary vision in Shenyang, northeast China, are replicas of the Amsterdam railway station, the palace of the Dutch royal family, the International Court of the Hague, a windmill, two canals and a row of three-storey shops with elegant roofs, dated 1882 and 1886. Yang, 40, the son of a penniless family in Nanjing who became the second richest man on the mainland, wanted to recreate in Shenyang what he had seen as a student at Leiden University in the Netherlands. So he built the Holland Village, with an investment of 7 billion yuan (HK$6.59 billion). Tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes would be grown in giant greenhouses for sale to Japan and the centre would become a tourism centre with a lake, villas, a five-star hotel, indoor tropical forest and an upmarket housing estate for Shenyang citizens. Top government officials, including former vice-premier Li Lanqing and provincial governor Bo Xilai, visited the city to lend their support. The Japanese premier at the time, Toshiki Kaifu, even said that the project would become 'a vegetable basket for Japan'. Chief executives visited from Europe and North America to discuss projects, including building a replica of Paris' Moulin Rouge cabaret theatre, and Tokyo supermarket chains sent buyers to negotiate deals for fresh flowers and frozen vegetables. But Yang goes on trial today accused of economic crimes and Holland Village lies empty and forlorn. The buildings are closed, with just 100 security staff remaining of the thousands of people who used to work there. The canals are full of rubbish. The shops stand empty, some with windows broken, others open to the elements. The replica of Amsterdam station, which Yang's investment vehicle, Euro-Asia Agriculture, used as an exhibition centre, is closed. Giant billboards remind passers-by of Yang's dream. 'Invest one, get 10 in return' reads the slogan below a vast field of tulips. 'The plan for 100 years, with Quality Number One' reads another. The public buses passing through carry advertisements for the project. The greenhouses are closed and the pipes that used to carry hot water are rusting. The few people who bought apartments in the development moved out last winter because there was no heating. Only a few villas are occupied by Yang's family and associates. There are different explanations for what happened. One is that Yang gravely over-reached himself, building far more than he could afford. One official newspaper said last weekend that his debts total more than 1.1 billion yuan, including 900 million yuan owed to state banks and more than 100 million yuan for the purchase of the land. Another explanation is that the project failed as a result of official displeasure. In spring last year, the government turned against Yang, ordering that his lines of credit be cut. Banks that had been willing financiers of the project suddenly pulled out, leaving Yang trapped in the middle. Once the trial is over and the verdict passed, Holland Village will be auctioned, probably to another developer, as creditors try to recover some of their money. In the meantime, a farmer on a horse-drawn cart filled with straw steers his way past the facade of the Dutch palace.