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Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Hong Seok-hyun Acquires Farmlands through a Camouflaged Move-In

Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Hong Seok-hyun Acquires Farmlands through a Camouflaged Move-In

Posted April. 15, 2005 23:22,   


Hong Seok-hyun, Korean Ambassador to the U.S., acknowledged that he acquired two farmland areas, one of which is located around Wolpo-ri 711, Yul-myeon, Icheon City, Gyeonggi Province, and the other is accompanied with a villa, property of the late Hyundai Group Honorary Chairman Chung Ju-young, located at Joan-ri, Joan-myeon, Namyangju City, Gyeonggi Province, both acquired through camouflaged moves.

Mr. Hong explained on April 14 (local time) to correspondents of Washington, D.C. regarding how he had gained the farmlands.

A Farmland Located in Wolpo-ri, Yul-myeon, Icheon City-

Mr. Hong’s father purchased a total area of 45,000 pyeong in the name of his wife, sons, and daughter-in-law from 1979 to 1984, among which farmland of about 20,000 pyeong was acquired through a camouflaged move.

The farmland, including the area of Wolpo-ri 711 and 712, bought in the name of Mr. Hong and his mother Kim (82) from 1979 to 1981, reached a total 20 lots, which is about 16,000 pyeong in size.

Since these areas were all fields, those who wanted to purchase farmland had to live there. Mr. Hong’s address was falsely moved to Wolpo-ri 853 in 1979 when he acquired the farmlands.

In addition, a farmland of four lots, including an area of Wolpo-ri 713-3, acquired in the name of Mr. Hong’s wife Shin (52), after Mr. Hong came back to Korea, was 3,500 pyeong in size. It was revealed that Mrs. Shin purchased the farmland after she changed her address to Wolpo-ri 964.

As of now, the posted land prices of these farmlands ranges from 18,000 to 20,000 won per pyeong. Real estate agencies of the local area said, “While the price of the farmlands could be purchased at about 40,000 won last year, as of now, their nominal prices range from 60,000 to 70,000 won, over three times greater than their posted land prices.”

Mr. Hong said, “I didn’t even know about a purchase of about 16,000 pyeong since I was in the U.S. at that time,” adding, “Concerning about 3,500 pyeong in the name of my wife, I was unaware of the fact of a camouflaged move-in at that time as well.” Even though Mr. Hong stated that his eldest son (25) only inherited his forestlands of Wolpo-ri, excluding problematic farmlands involved in suspicions of a camouflaged move-in, it was notified that his eldest son also possesses a field of about 6,200 pyeong.

A Farmland Located at Joan-ri, Joan-myeon, Namyangju City-

A villa of a total of about 30,000 pyeong in size around Joan-ri, property of the late chairman Chung Ju-young, purchased by Mr. Hong, was placed under regulations as a permission area for land purchases.

When Mr. Hong bought the villa in April 2002, he purchased farmland of 2,000 pyeong in size within the site in the name of his mother Kim after he moved her address to match it.

Mr. Hong said, “At that time, I asked Chung Mong-heon, former chairman of the Board of Directors in Hyundai Asan, to keep a farmland of 200 pyeong that belonged to the villa because I could not buy it. But since Chung’s situation did not allow it, I moved my mother’s address to the villa, and then I bought the farmland in December 2001.”

Since the 26th provision of an enforcement decree of the National Land Use Management Act, applied to land purchases at that time, stipulated that those who want to buy farmlands must live in the related city and “gun,” Mr. Hong arranged for his mother’s address to change in order to buy the farmlands.

Since forestlands within the villa are allowed to be purchased by those who live near the related city and gun (county), it is not illegal to acquire the forestlands within the villa in the name of Mr. Hong.