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Toppled Shanghai residential building dismantled
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The Shanghai residential building that toppled over in June was dismantled yesterday as angry homeowners protested nearby.

When the demolition started at noon, Wang Laiyun and some 20 other homeowners climbed on top of another uncompleted building in the Lotus Riverside complex, shouting "Give me back my home".

"Some government officials asked us to leave but we refused," he said.

"We have not been compensated yet. It is still our building. How could they dismantle it without our permission?" Wang said. "We will stay here until they promise they will build us a new building at the same spot."

The uncompleted building - one of 11 in the complex in Shanghai's suburban Minhang district - collapsed on June 27, killing a migrant worker who attempted to retrieve his tools. Nearly 500 of the 620 units had been sold at an average price of 14,300 yuan per sq m.

The developer offered several compensation deals to homeowners of the toppled building and the remaining 10 buildings.

Homeowners in the collapsed building can choose to be refunded and compensated the difference between what they paid and the price on June 27, or pick another apartment in the remaining 10 buildings.

On July 31, Shanghai real estate giant Vanke took over the compensation, construction and sales of the remaining 10 uncompleted buildings.

"They have not told us exactly how much we will be compensated or exactly which apartments in the uncollapsed 10 buildings are available to be picked," said Wang Laiyun.

Zhao, who purchased a 100-sq m apartment in a building next to the collapsed one, said: "The collapsed building is evidence of shoddy work. How could they tear it down before everything is clear?"

"We need them to tell us how deep the foundations are and prove to us the 10 buildings are safe."

An investigation said mud piled at one side of the building and the digging of an underground car park on the other worked together to pull down the building.

On July 28, the Shanghai government announced that 13 people related to the collapse, including the largest shareholder of the developer, Shanghai Meidu Real Estate Development Company, will face trial. If convicted, they could be jailed for up to seven years.

Eight others, including the owner of the safety watchdog and the owner of the company doing the excavation work have either had their operating licenses revoked, been fined or fired.

The No 7 Construction Company of Shanghai Construction Group entered the complex yesterday to clear the site for future construction, according to a statement from Minhang government. Under a plan announced earlier, public facilities and lawns will be built at the site of the collapsed building.

(China Daily August 6, 2009)

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