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Families of Yongsan fire victims to be compensated

All Headlines 10:58 December 31, 2009

SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- The family members of five protesters killed in a blaze at a Seoul redevelopment site have reached a compensation deal with the redevelopers after year-long negotiations, city officials said Thursday.

The agreement came 345 days after the deadly fire on Jan. 20 at the site in Seoul's Yongsan Ward, which ended a drawn out struggle against the redevelopment. Six people, including one police officer, were killed when the blaze erupted after commandos stormed a dilapidated office building where the protesters were holed up with Molotov cocktails.

In a public outcry over the incident, then national police chief-nominee Kim Seok-ki resigned. The families of the five victims refused to hold funerals for their relatives, demanding first compensation and an apology from the government.

According to the agreement, the redevelopment companies will bear the cost of the funerals, officials at the redevelopment committee said without disclosing further details. The ceremonies will be held on Jan. 9 next year.

Following the agreement on Wednesday, Prime Minister Chung Un-chan met the bereaved families and offered his apologies, saying he felt "responsibility for the incident."


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