China officials "smash up" car showroom in land row

Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:46am EST
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BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese officials smashed up a car showroom with 10 new Audis inside, causing nearly $12 million of damage, because they wanted to build an express railway on the site and the owner refused to leave, a newspaper said on Monday.

The owner had been holding out for more compensation, a struggle familiar across China where property disputes over government seizures of land are rife because authorities permit little oversight and effectively control police and courts.

The showroom manager wanted 110 million yuan ($16.07 million) to give up his land while the local government only offered 10 million, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

About 700 government employees attacked the shop early one morning last week, damaging cars, injuring employees and destroying the building, the paper said, quoting staff.

($1=6.844 Yuan)

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom)