Luxury homes gifted by tycoon empty as villagers fight over ownership

After becoming rich, a Chinese tycoon decided to give back to his hometown by building hundreds of luxury houses for its residents, but was left disappointed by their response.

Founder of beverage company Tiandi No. 1 Beverage, Mr Chen Sheng, donated 200 million yuan (S$42 million) to construct 258 luxury homes in Guanhu village, Guangdong province, five years ago, reported the Southern Metropolis Daily.

Each home, which covers 280 sq m, has five bedrooms, two living rooms, a garage and a small garden.

The grounds also feature leisure amenities such as a basketball court, a badminton court and a stage for hosting traditional operas.

The houses are meant to be free for each villager, and were ready since the end of last year, according to the Chinese media report.

But the villas are unoccupied as the villagers cannot seem to agree on how many homes each family should get.

According to the report, some families have asked for more than one villa for their children when they get married.

Former villagers who had migrated to other places also expressed interest to return.

The disagreements have even forced Mr Chen to avoid returning to his hometown for two years, as he has been left disheartened by the experience.

"If I return, everyone would have all sorts of requests, so I would rather not return," he was quoted as saying in the Southern Metropolis Daily.

The villas have also faced vandalism from others outside the village, causing multiple repairs.

Mr Chen had also planned to plant lychee orchards and set up a pig farm close to the villas, to create more than 100 jobs for the community.

For now, the village committee is planning to hold a meeting to find a solution to the issue, said Southern Metropolis Daily. - THE STRAITS TIMES