"Love hotel" label roils residents

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"Love hotel" label roils residents

DAEJEON -- The use of the term "love hotel" has flared into a dispute between officials and residents of Yuseong district in Daejeon, where the district government has withheld permission to construct 200 new hotels since March.

Love hotels provide rooms for sexual encounters, charging for the rooms by the hour. In recent years, these hotels have proliferated in suburban areas, and residents -- including those in Ilsan, Gyeonggi province -- have demanded that local governments bar their operation near residences and school zones.

Despite public sentiment, the Daejeon city government decided in June that the ruling banning the construction of hotels should be lifted, contending the district's ban, without specific legal grounds, was in violation of personal property rights.

Enraged by the city's ruling, the head of Yuseong district office, Lee Byung-ryung, sent a letter to the mayor of Daejeon, Yum Hong-chul, noting that 19 out of 22 construction permits issued in the district from November 2001 through February 2002 were for love hotels. Mr. Lee added the area could turn into a seedy district if the trend continued.

While concerned about the operation of hourly hotels, Daejeon residents were angered by Mr. Lee's comments that appeared to imply that all accommodations within the city were love hotels. Many legitimate hotels and motels operate in the area.

During an open discussion with city officials on Friday, a 41-year-old resident asked the mayor whether all hotels within the special tourist zone are love hotels.

On the city's website, a housewife, who requested anonymity, wrote, "Mr. Lee's argument to call all accommodation facilities 'love hotels' was an illogical jump because then all accommodations within the Yuseong district should be called love hotels."

An official in Daejeon local government said "love hotel" is not an official term, according to the existing construction law, and therefore it was improper for a government organization to use the term.

by Choi Joon-ho

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