Family of fallen cop needs more: police group

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Family of fallen cop needs more: police group

The Mugunghwa Club, an association of former and incumbent police officers, yesterday urged the Seoul Metropolitan Government and construction firms to raise the amount of compensation for a police officer who was killed during the Yongsan fire that took place in January last year.

“Even though families of five squatters who died during a protest against the redevelopment project [in Yongsan] will receive compensation worth 3.5 billion won [$3 million], the family of a victimized police SWAT officer is being given much less in compensation,” Jeon Gyeong-su, head of the association, said during a press conference in front of the National Police Agency in Seodaemun, Seoul. “We urge the Seoul government and the developer to compensate them with at least 10 billion won or more.”

Jeon also pointed out an example in the United States of an officer who was killed on duty. His family received the equivalent of some 10 billion won in compensation.

Police SWAT officers who were burned during the raid should also be paid more, said Jeon.

Family members of the late SWAT officer Kim Nam-hun will receive a total of 139 million won. Also, they are going to get a monthly pension of 860,000 won.

Each injured officer will be provided with compensation funds between 100,000 to 500,000 won.

“Police forces are dispatched to dangerous spots for the public’s sake. Who would risk their life to do such a thing if the compensation is not satisfactory?” Jeon said.

The developer and victims reached a compensation deal on Dec. 30, after 345 days of negotiations over the Yongsan fire. The fire, which broke out when officers tried to evict squatters from a site slated for redevelopment, claimed six lives, including one SWAT officer.

The families had refused to hold funerals for the five and have kept their bodies at Sunchunhyang University Hospital in Seoul. They will hold the funeral today.

On Jan. 19, 2009, people being evicted from the area took over the five-story Namildang building. They demanded higher compensation for their homes 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 roof on Jan. 20, a fire broke out on a watchtower.

By Kim Jeen-kyung, Lee Min-yong []

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