Gov't Asks Saemmul Church to Pay for Hostage Return

    October 15, 2007 07:08

    Saemmul Church in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province. Twenty members of the church's congregation were abducted and released by Taliban militants in Afghanistan./Yonhap
    The government has formally asked the Saemmul Church in Bundang, Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province to pay some W60 million in expenses for bringing members of the church taken hostage in Afghanistan back (US$1=W918).

    Saemmul Church elder Kwon Hyuk-soo on Sunday said the church last Thursday “received an official document from the government requesting US$30,115 to cover expenses for the transport of the dead bodies, airfares for the released hostages and their hotel expenses, in addition to an indemnity of W32.47 million."

    The money include expenses for the surviving hostages' stay at hotels in Kabul and Dubai, costs for the treatment of Kim Kyung-ja and Kim Ji-na, who were released earlier than the others, at the Armed Forces Hospital in Seoul, airfares for all the surviving hostages from Kabul to Dubai or New Delhi and to Incheon International Airport, and the expenses for transporting the bodies of the Rev. Bae Hyung-kyu and Shim Sung-min.

    The government did not ask a refund for expenses related to its negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the rumored ransom.

    Kwon vowed the church will repay the money once it has all the details since it has already made it clear it will pay. The money is to come from church coffers.

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