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Officials Arrested for Land Speculation

Posted November. 28, 2005 05:44,   


Public officials who privately informed speculators of development sites or purchased sites using official information have been arrested.

The government’s Joint Real Estate Speculator Investigation Headquarters (Director: Lee Dong-ki, head of Criminal Affairs in the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office), consisting of prosecution, police, National Tax Service, and Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MCT) officials announced yesterday that it cracked down on real estate speculation from July 7 to October 31, investigating 9,700 people and arresting about 300.

A total of 27 public officials were exposed as having been involved in real estate speculation. Some public officials responsible for keeping a damper on speculation appear to have been the center of speculation fever.

Public officials accepted bribes in exchange for speculation information-

Park, a fifth-grade MCT official, accepted 10 million won from a speculator in compensation for the information that the greenbelt zoning of forest land in Bundang, Seongnam City, Gyeonggi Province, would be lifted.

Six public officials of the Urban Planning Division and Construction Division in Hwaseong City colluded with other officials and survey engineering firm people, using information that the Hwaseong area would be designated an urban development district for large-scale housing site development.

They jointly purchased 11,000 pyeong of forest at 2.1 billion won, but land transformation approval was hard to get because the land was adjacent to a road. They bribed officials in charge to obtain approval and held the land title in a trust of the engineering firm president’s wife.

Celebrities also involved in speculation-

The “South-West Coast Tourist Leisure City Development Project” (J Project) of South Jeolla Province was also a target of speculation, and it was revealed that high-ranking officials were involved.

A real estate planning firm representative and his employees purchased 190,000 pyeong of reclaimed farmland in Yeongam-gun, South Jeolla Province, and held the titles in an employees’ trust. They split the land into a number of land parcels to get a certificate of farmland acquisition issued by certified judicial scriveners and public officials.

This plan achieved 20 billion won in resale gain through selling the parcels to 450 people.

According to prosecutors, the purchasers included conglomerate executives, university professors, former high-ranking officials, and a member of the 2002 World Cup soccer team.