The Swiss Mountain Village Castle was abandoned for over 20 years. Originally a meeting retreat for the Tai ji Men, a Taiwan religious group, it then came under possession of the government while its owner underwent tax investigation. In 2020, the charges on the man were dropped and the property was returned, but by that time it had been sitting in ruins for decades. I am not sure if the building will be renovated or torn down in the future.
Taiji men was formed in 1966 and is a religion, but considers itself a school for physical and spiritual well being especially through the use of Tai Chi. For more info about the religion see here.
The Swiss Mountain Village was one like any other in the area, a place where somewhat wealthy people in the Taipei area would build villas and retreats. Swiss Mountain Village in Xizhi is not the most ideal place to live now. Residents there have to deal with not having piped water from the city, for one. At the beginning, the neighborhood built a community center which is the castle we know now. Mr. Hong built the community center in 1996 to use as a meeting place for his religions events.
What got Mr. Hong in trouble was a tax investigation to profits earned from some of his Tai Chi schools in Taipei. Originally the tax office thought that his schools should be taxed the same way as a cram school, but Hong contended that it was a non profit religious organization and should not be taxed. After over 20 years and 18 court battles Mr. Hong finally won the fight against the tax office, and the assets frozen during the legal fight were finally returned to him in 2020.
For more about the background on this castle, see here.
Since the property is now in private hands, I do not recommend visiting so I will not share the map location. The building may be renovated, but will more likely be torn down due to maintenance costs. During the 20 years or so that the land was frozen by the government, Mr. Hong did not pay taxes or management fees, which he still owes.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.