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Gov't to revise law on compensation for damage caused by N.K. leaflets

All News 13:20 June 01, 2016

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- The government said Wednesday it plans to make a law revision allowing it to provide compensation for any property damage inflicted by bundles of North Korea propaganda leaflets.

The revision to the Basic Law on Civil Defense, announced by the Ministry of Public Safety and Security, would make it possible for the minister and heads of local government bodies to compensate people for damage that originates from the enemy's infiltration and provocations, even if it is not a case of civil defense.

Under the current law, the government has no legal basis for compensating any property damage caused by bundles of North Korean leaflets, because the scope of damage compensation is limited to civil defense.

In February, a water tank on the roof of a residential building in Suwon, south of Seoul, was found partially damaged after what police say was a heavy bundle of propaganda leaflets from North Korea fell on it. Prior to the incident, the roof of a car was damaged due to the same reason in the city of Goyang near Seoul in January.

In the two cases, the municipal governments and insurance companies were at loggerheads over how to make compensation for the damage.

The ministry said the law revision also has a new clause that empowers the government to exercise the right to demand reimbursement from the North.

"Practically, it is very difficult for us to ask the North for payments over the damage," a ministry official said. "We just want to make sure that North Korea is liable for the compensation related to its sending of leaflets."

The North has been sending bundles of propaganda material, which are designed to explode in the air, across the border since early this year. As recent as Monday, police were mobilized to remove a set of two balloons, believed to be attached to North Korean leaflets, caught in electrical wires in Seoul's Eunpyeong Ward.

namsh@yna.co.kr
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