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Fish market vendors clash with officials over forced relocation

2018/07/12 13:46

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SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- Angry vendors at a major fish market in Seoul clashed Thursday with officials who attempted to carry out a court order for a forced relocation of their shops, citing unfair terms of the deal.

Some 150 merchants at the Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market tussled with 300 enforcement officers, blocking the way into the stores and calling on them to stop the execution of the court order.

The skirmish continued for about an hour and a half until 9:30 a.m. as the officers pulled out.

The National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives, the market's proprietor, won a court order to enforce the relocation of 95 stores that have resisted moving into the new place.

The Seoul Central District Court granted the order upon the Supreme Court's ruling that upheld the NFFC's push for the relocation under the modernization project aimed at demolishing the decades-old market and renovating the area.

Safety and other concerns arose over the 48-year-old fish market, and the NFFC launched a government-funded plan in 2004 to overhaul the establishment. The renovated market, located in the same premises, opened in March 2016.

While the majority of existing merchants and wholesalers have agreed to the relocation and moved into the new building, other vendors still refuse to relocate, primarily because of unsatisfactory compensation and higher rent.

The opposing side has also insisted the new shops are unfit to be fish shops and too cramped to run their businesses that are cross between retail and wholesale.

The NFFC said it has offered 30 billion won ($26.6 million) in supplementary support for the merchants and will seek to resolve the matter through negotiations. It stressed the relocation is inevitable, citing the danger of potential accidents from deterioration.

A representative of the opposing merchants said they will not back down until the NFFC "guarantees our survival and leaves the old market in place."

  

Merchants and enforcement officers clash over the latter's attempt to carry out a forced order to relocate shops to a new building in front of the Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market in Seoul on July 12, 2018. (Yonhap) Merchants and enforcement officers clash over the latter's attempt to carry out a forced order to relocate shops to a new building in front of the Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market in Seoul on July 12, 2018. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr

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