The Korea Herald/Asia News Network
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
SEOUL – A Seoul district court ordered the Korean government to compensate residents living near a US Air Force base south of Seoul, saying aircraft from the military installation had caused too much noise.
The government is obliged to pay a sum of 826 million won (S$1 million) to 1,138 residents who have lived next to the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, since 1952, according to a verdict last week, Seoul Central District Court officials said Tuesday.
A judge said the government was likely to appeal the ruling, although no appeal plans were immediately announced.
Homeowners residing near Osan Air Base will receive the payouts based on factors including how long they have lived near the base.
The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in 2012, some complaining that the jets taking off from the air base have caused lanterns and televisions in their houses to violently shake before shattering. Other residents have complained of long-term health problems such as damaged hearing.
“Base authorities have not taken sufficient measures to address such issues,” a judge said.
Osan Air Base is home to the US 7th Air Force, United States Forces Korea’s main air unit. Over 100 planes take off daily from the airfield.
This is not the first lawsuit filed against the government by residents near a US military base. In 2012, approximately 4,000 residents near Osan Air Base received compensation after a ruling by the Seoul High Court.
The payments will be made by Seoul, according to related domestic laws and the US-South Korea Status of Forces Agreement.