중앙데일리

Yongsan fire dispute settled in a year

용산 사건 ‘보상금 35억’ 타결

Dec 31,2009
Families of victims who were killed in a fire during eviction from a redevelopment site in Yongsan cry during a press conference yesterday. Announcing that their demands for compensation and an apology were satisfied after 345 days of controversial negotiations, the families said the funeral will take place on Jan. 9. [YONHAP]

Ending 345 days of controversial negotiations over the Yongsan fire that claimed six lives including one SWAT officer during eviction from a redevelopment site, the developer and victims reached an agreement yesterday.

Though the two sides would not disclose the exact amount of compensation, observers estimate that a total of 3.5 billion won ($3 million) was offered to families of the five squatters who died during a protest against the project. The families had refused to hold funerals for the five and have kept their bodies at Sunchunhyang University Hospital in Seoul. They said they would hold the funerals after they closed a compensation deal with Yongsan developer.

With the compensation deal, funerals for the victims will be held on Jan. 9, the families, the National Alliance of Squatters and Evictees and the Seoul city government said in separate press conferences yesterday.

“After a 14-hour-long marathon negotiation session that began Tuesday, the two sides struck a compensation deal,” said Kim Yeong-geol, chief of the city’s balanced development headquarters. “The memorial altar standing at the Namildang building, where the incident happened, will be completely removed by Jan. 25.”

Under the agreement, funeral expenses, condolence fees and unpaid hospital costs will be covered by the developer. The families also earned ownership of an arcade and the right to run restaurants for construction workers when the redevelopment project begins in the area. The developer and the evictees’ group agreed not to file court cases over responsibility for the incident, and the evictees’ group agreed to let the developer proceed with its redevelopment plan.

As a way to make the agreement more feasible, they also agreed to form a committee of seven members to monitor and implement the agreement. The committee includes three members of religious groups, two civic figures recommended by the evictees’ group, Kim Yeong-geol and Yongsan District Office Deputy Mayor Lee San-cheol. The evictees’ families had also demanded an official government apology, which Prime Minister Chung Un-chan issued yesterday.

“Though it’s a bit late, it’s fortunate that the agreement was made before the year’s end,” Chung’s statement read. “Regardless of the cause of the Yongsan tragedy, it was an unfortunate incident that shouldn’t have happened. I again feel responsibility over the unfortunate incident. As the prime minister, I express my deep regret over the tragedy to bereaved families.”

“What’s more important, institutional changes should be mapped out so as not to repeat the tragic incident in the future,” the statement read. “I’m hoping that the families will return to normal life soon.”

Chung had earlier visited the families to offer condolences during the Chuseok holiday on Oct. 3.

Meanwhile, although the evictees’ group celebrated that it had finally ended negotiations with the developer, it stressed that the tragedy of the Yongsan fire hasn’t ended.

“Prosecutors are not opening the 3,000 pages of investigation records from the Yongsan tragedy [that we demanded] and the truth of the incident still remains shrouded,” the evictees’ groups said in a statement. “If there are no fundamental changes made to policies concerning new town and redevelopment projects, there’s no guarantee that another Yongsan tragedy won’t happen somewhere else.”

On Jan. 19, people being evicted from the area took over the five-story Namildang building, demanding higher compensation for their houses and stores which were to be demolished for a massive development project. When SWAT officers tried to evict them by landing on the building’s rooftop on Jan. 20, a fire broke out on a watchtower.


By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

용산 사건 ‘보상금 35억’ 타결


지난 1월 서울 용산 재개발 지역에서 숨진 농성자 5명에 대한 보상 협상이 345일 만인 30일 타결됐다.

유족 측은 용산 4구역 재개발 조합으로부터 35억원가량의 보상금을 받을 것으로 전해졌다. 용산 범국민대책위는 이날 기자회견을 열고 “29일부터 14시간가량 협상을 벌여 범대위와 조합이 보상안에 합의했다”고 발표했다.

협상을 중재했던 서울시 김영걸 균형발전본부장도 “협상이 타결돼 유족들은 내년 1월 9일 사망자들에 대한 장례식을 치르기로 했다 ” 고 말했다.

정선언 기자


  • 한글 원문 기사 보기



    dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장