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Korean Businessman Says He is Being Harassed by Chinese Authorities to Move Hotel

Posted by Author on April 9, 2007

Hankyoreh Media, South Korea, Apr.9,2007-

Despite an order of demolition from the Chinese authorities, a Korean businessman who operates a hotel on Mt. Changbai (the Chinese side of the mountain known as Baekdu in Korean) has requested protection from the Korean Consulate General in Shenyang, saying that he was threatened by authorities managing the Mt. Changbai preservation zone.

According to Park Beom-yong, who runs the tourist hotel on Mt. Changbai, employees of the Mt. Changbai authority one day requested that he buy a ticket in order to enter the mountain where his resort is located. “Owners of hotels within the park had passed through the entrance without purchasing tickets thus far. When I protested against the measure, the employees used violent language and threatened me,” said Park.

Through a letter to the consulate general on April 6, Park appealed that he could no longer stay to work in the area due to the authority workers’ and security officers’ threats, saying that he was told things like, “This is not Korean territory,” or “You will be put under arrest” and “Your car will be confiscated.”

Park also filed a complaint with China’s Ministry of Commerce, saying that “the authority managing Mt. Changbai kept blackmailing me to leave without even giving me due restitution.”

The authority managing Mt. Changbai in April last year ordered four hotels invested in by foreigners, including the one operated by Park, to be demolished, saying that the authority was going to improve the mountain in order to apply to have it named by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site. Two hotels operated by Park and a Korean-Japanese, respectively, have not accepted the order, demanding proper compensation. The authority, however, has reportedly taken the position that it cannot compensate the requested amount because the hotel is an illegal building which did not obtain the rights to use the land.

In response, Park said that an agency under the Chinese authority managing the mountain had not followed through with its commitment to acquire the land use rights, which was stipulated in the joint agreement signed with Park. Therefore, Park said, the issue of the land rights cannot be the reason preventing compensation from being paid to him.

The consulate general said, “We sent a letter to the mountain authority urging it to be considerate of the insistence of the Korean investor. Regarding the problems of the right to use the land, as well as compensation, we asked the authority to reflect Mr. Park’s opinion,” added the official.

original report

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