Residents of the Pohang district of Chongjin are said to be up in arms at attempts to deprive them of their right to move into new apartment buildings being constructed in the area.
A source from Chongjin told Daily NK yesterday, "This rumor started going around that the apartments they are building would first go to decorated soldiers, veterans and discharged military officers, and then the rest would be distributed to ordinary people. As soon as that happened, a group of 40 or more people, many of whom had already seen their former homes demolished and thought they had priority on the housing list, got really angry.”
“The crowd went repeatedly to both the local administrative office and the district people’s committee to demand that a list of those assigned homes be made public,” he added.
During the protests, the source said, "Those who found they were not on the list warned that they would not stand idly by if their new homes were stolen from them. They didn’t back down from the guys from the Ministry of People’s Safety either, not for more than 30 minutes.”
The head of the local administrative office vacated his post due to the trouble and hasn’t been seen since, something that has made the aggrieved individuals even angrier. Upper level cadres are also refusing to meet them, and lower level figures are trying to wash their hands of the whole affair, saying that the list of those assigned apartments can no longer be changed. No longer thinking that the problem can be solved at the district level, the group has sent a letter to the provincial authorities outlining their grievances.
“Their point is that the authorities said that only a small number of the apartments would go to those people (decorated soldiers, veterans and discharged military officers), while most of them were supposed to go to ordinary families,” the source explained.
The source also explained the backdrop, saying that thousands of homes in the Namgang and Pohang areas of the Pohang district of the city have been destroyed since last June, and that the displaced residents from those homes have all been living with relatives and friends while waiting for the chance to move into what they thought were to be their new dwellings.
The problem is not over yet, either. According to the source, “It also looks like some facilities like shops and restaurants that were not on the original plans for an area around the amusement park are also being built, which will reduce the volume of housing available. Who can say how people from that area who’ve lost their homes will object if they lose out.”