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Real-name street vendor system to debut

Posted September. 15, 2015 07:57,   


"Real-name street vendor system" will be introduced in central Seoul to prevent negative effects of enterprise-style street vendors, or vendors running multiple stalls. Vendors who seek to operate street stalls in Seoul’s Myeong-dong, and Namdaemun and Dongdaemun markets will be obliged to register in advance with the ward office and disclose photos and names of the vendors on-site without fail. Only a couple whose combined wealth is less than 300 million won (254,000 US dollars) is allowed to operate a street stall.

Seoul’s Jung-gu ward office announced Monday a measure to establish order in urban street stalls and use them to enable self-reliance (of working class people). Through the real-name street vendor system, the ward office plans to correct illicit activities by street vendors in Myeong-dong, and Dongdaemun and Namdaemun markets that amount to over 1,300 in total, and use street stalls as facilities to promote youths` startups and to support self-reliance of the working class.

First off, a real-name street vendor system will be implemented based on "one person, one stall" principle beginning in November. One vendor will be allowed to run just one stall, a measure designed to prevent uncontrolled expansion of street stalls and root out premiums paid for street stalls or extortion of illicit street taxes, which have been afflicting working-class startup entrepreneurs.

Upon receiving applications from merchants, the Jung-gu ward office plans to examine whether they actually operate businesses, location of businesses, operation hours and sizes of stalls, and conduct review of eligibility, before giving permission to occupy portions of streets. Vendors who received permission can operate businesses only when they disclose their names and photos at their stalls. Only the person who registers should operate the stall in question and he or she is not allowed to lease or sell the stall. A vendor is allowed to operate a stall for up to three years, with contract renewable.

In order to ensure that street stalls can be used by unemployed youths and low-income people as foundation for their self-reliance, the ward office has decided to put in place standards for the vendor’s assets. If the combined asset of a street stall operator’s couple exceeds 300 million won (including financial asset and real estate), he or she is not allowed to newly apply or renew contract. The criteria for the value of assets will take effect from 2018 after a three-year grace period after introduction of the system in November. “If the asset criteria are applied immediately, merchants who are currently operating stalls could suffer damage,” a source in the Jung-gu ward office said. “However, we will continue to change the system to ensure that working-class people will have more opportunities to run stalls from 2018.”

A plan will also be implemented to transform stalls at Namdaemun and Dongdaemun markets into "Night markets for tourists." The Jung-gu ward office plans to open a night market in March next year at a 650-meter section near Namdaemun Market, and introduce there street corners specializing in late-night meals, traditional royal recipes, and creative recipes by young chefs. The ward office will also create specialty food street and goods street corners designed for vendors selling different items at a 540-meter section linking Ramodo Shopping Mall and Hanyang Technical High School in Dongdaemun Market.

“We will drastically improve urban street stalls, and take the lead in establishing law and order, galvanizing the local economy, and creating jobs, and develop Jung-gu into tourist hotspots through night markets for tourists,” said Jung-gu District Mayor Choi Chang-shik.