Four detained for tearing down apartment wall and making 31-story building unsafe
Published: May 09, 2023 11:58 PM
The apartment building in Harbin, North China's Heilongjiang Province. Photo: VCG

The apartment building in Harbin, North China's Heilongjiang Province. Photo: VCG

Four people have been subject to criminal compulsory measures for knocking down a load-bearing wall in a 31-story residential building in Harbin, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, which led to 240 households being evacuated on an emergency basis, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday. 

The tenant of the third floor in the building knocked down the load-bearing wall on April 28 in an attempt to refit the entire story into a gymnasium. 

Apart from a hotel, internet café and hot pot restaurant underneath the renovation site, the building houses more than 240 households. 

All the households were evacuated and relocated to the hotel around 1 am that night after the project caused wall cracks extending to the 25th floor, placing the residents in jeopardy. 

The local government in Harbin attached great importance to the incident and set up a work group overnight to launch an investigation and proceed in the monitoring and handling of the aftermath of the incident.

After the incident, all the residents affected were relocated, and 15 work groups were set up by the local government to answer their questions. Officials in different areas of expertise such as laws have extended their help, according to CCTV.

Authoritative national- and provincial-level testing institutions have been commissioned to carry out inspections and to give suggestions on emergency measures to prevent further damage.

Four people responsible for the incident have been subject to criminal compulsory measures by the police for investigation.

After the incident, many residents refused to move back into the building for fear of a collapse. 

It is estimated that the problem has caused economic losses of as much as 168 million yuan ($24.3 million), according to media reports.

Legal experts believe the behavior poses hazards to public safety, for which the tenants, the construction team and the property management company of the building may be liable to pay compensation.

According to media reports, it is not uncommon for tenants or apartment owners to knock down load-bearing walls without permission and endanger the safety of residential buildings

An apartment owner from Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province recently knocked down a load-bearing wall in the apartment, which caused cracks in the walls and the subsidence of floors in the apartment above. 

In 2021, a first-floor apartment owner in Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province who knocked down a load-bearing wall was placed under criminal compulsory measures for the crime of endangering public security by damaging the whole six-floor building, which became no longer safe to live in.

Global Times