The conflict began in November 2009 when an official of the Seodaemun-gu Office found that the relevant sites were not marked on the land registration map and did not have addresses.
“It seems the sites in question were omitted in the first land registration in the 1910s and were overlooked again in the ’70s and the ’80s,” said Han Kyung-soon, the director of financial affairs and land ownership at the Seodaemun-gu Office.
After the discovery, the government designated the sites’ addresses as “Daehyeon 11-8, 9, 10” as a temporary measure. Then in January 2011, it demanded a fine of 400 million won from Ewha for unauthorized land use, saying that “unclaimed land belongs to the nation.”
“The several sites at Ewha excluded in land registration for the past 100 years definitely belong to the government since Ewha did not sign an official contract with the government before using the land in question,” Han said.
Even though Ewha took a different stance, the university paid the fine nonetheless.
“We paid the fine, because it is true that the debated land is currently listed as national property, and the Seodaemun-gu Office naturally considered our usage as unauthorized,” said Park Jung-ok, an official of the Ewha Office of Property Management.
Not long after paying the fine, however, Ewha filed a lawsuit at the Seoul Western District Court claiming adverse possession (a policy which allocates an un-owned property to the current user after 20 years).
“All of the building sites currently under debate was included in the area that Ewha purchased when it moved to Sinchon in 1930. Ewha has occupied the space since then, so it is the rightful owner of the property. As for the indemnity, it will be returned once we win the case,” Park said.
However, the Seodaemun-gu Office said that the policy did not apply to administrative districts such as rivers or roads. Along with the earlier first trial on land ownership in the Seoul District Court while both sides concluded their arguments in January, the validity of second trial has not been decided. If the Seodaemun-gu Office wins the trial against Ewha, the ECC, the roads near the Science Buildings and the street in front of the Main Gate of Ewha will be newly registered as national land and Ewha will have to pay an annual rental fee.
저작권자 © Ewha Voice 무단전재 및 재배포 금지