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3 lawmakers cleared of land speculation charges: police

This photo shows part of land lots in Siheung, just south of Seoul, purchased by officials of the Korea Land & Housing Corp., a state-run housing developer, in alleged speculation by using internal information prior to the announcement of a government plan to build a new town there. (Yonhap)
This photo shows part of land lots in Siheung, just south of Seoul, purchased by officials of the Korea Land & Housing Corp., a state-run housing developer, in alleged speculation by using internal information prior to the announcement of a government plan to build a new town there. (Yonhap)
Local police have cleared charges against three lawmakers who had been suspected of illegal real estate dealings, officials said Saturday.

The Gyeonggi Nambu Police Agency in Suwon, just south of Seoul, said it dropped charges against Rep. Yang Hyang-ja, an independent lawmaker, and two ruling Democratic Party members -- Rep. Kim Kyung-man and Rep. Seo Young-suk -- in relation to alleged property speculation.

Yang was under probe over a violation of the anti-corruption law and the Farmland Act. She bought a plot of land in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, in 2015, which was near an area designated as a public housing development district the previous year.

The police said Yang had no access to confidential information on the development plan, as she was working at a private company at the time, and the purchase was made through a real estate agency that recommended the investment.

Yang worked for Samsung until 2016. She won a parliamentary seat in the 2020 general elections.

The land was located in a forest area, clearing the lawmaker of the Farmland Act breach allegation.

Kim came under probe for his wife's purchases of land in another Gyeonggi Province city, Siheung, in 2016 and 2018, but speculation against him was found to be baseless.

Seo was accused of using insider information to buy a piece of land near a development area in Bucheon, also in Gyeonggi Province, when he was a member of the provincial assembly in 2015.

But the police concluded that the transaction was not illegal, as the development plan around the area had already been disclosed to the public at the time.

The probe began in March after a civic group filed a report against the three lawmakers amid public anger sparked by a land speculation scandal involving employees of Korea Land and Housing Corp., a state-run housing developer. (Yonhap)

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