'Nail house' couple refuse to move

Pictures of elderly couple’s home go viral on internet

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 3:05pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 June, 2018, 12:14pm

The owners of a five-story “nail house” situated in the middle of a huge dual carriageway in eastern Zhejiang province say they won’t move until they receive adequate compensation.

Chinese media reported on Friday that the couple was angry with the small amount of compensation being offered to them by the local government to move out of their home.

Luo Baogen, 67, and his wife, 65, spent more than 600,000 yuan (HK$746,194) building their “nail house” in Wenling city in 2001. In China, buildings which stick out and are difficult to remove are often called as “nail houses”.

Most of the couple’s neighbours have moved after the government started buying back land from local farmers to build roads. But Luo refused because the authorities would only pay him 260,000 yuan.

“It would take at least 800,000 yuan to rebuild the house at another location,” explained Luo. The couple still has mains electricity, running water and cable television, according to the Shanghai Daily.

Luo told reporters he would not move until he was paid more money to build a new home. He dismissed claims by government officials that he had already agreed to move as “lies”.

On Friday, pictures of the elderly couple’s house went viral on the internet. The photographs, widely carried by Chinese state media and internet sites, show a partially demolished five-storey block of flats in the centre of the road.

One netizen, writing on China’s micro-blogging service Sina Weibo, said: “To pay Luo only 260,000 yuan is nothing but robbery.”

But some bloggers praised the Wenling government’s restraint, saying authorities had so far refrained from a forcible eviction and knocking down the building. “I see progress in local officials,” said Wudi De Daniupai.

There have been several previous “nail house” cases, including one in the southwestern city of Chongqing in 2007 in which the property developer excavated a deep pit around the holdout’s home.