Updated January. 24, 2011 08:06
Construction sites of Korean builders in Libya have suffered attacks by locals, sources said Sunday.
The Korean construction industry and the Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry say three to four project sites in Libya run by Korean builders were attacked by residents on Jan. 14 and 15. No casualties were reported through Sunday, but the estimated damage exceeded 45 billion won (40.1 million U.S. dollars).
At a housing project site operated by a mid-size Korean builder, more than 100 residents stormed in, looted construction materials and personal belongings, and set construction vehicles and warehouses on fire. The residents were driven out and construction was resumed at most of the sites.
The Korean construction industry and government learned that the attacks did not target just Korean builders since contractors from other countries including Turkey and Malaysia suffered similar damage as well.
A source from the International Contractors Association of Korea said, The incidents in which residents illegally occupied housing under construction in Libya cannot be construed as anti-government demonstrations or organized violence resulting from anti-Korean sentiment.
A construction company source well-informed of the situation in Libya said, Since (Libya) lacks housing supply, people raid and find shelter only after a framework is finished, thinking that construction is completed.
(The latest incident) seems to have occurred because a physical struggle intensified while the builders tried to force out the intruders, causing other angry residents to join and trigger violent clashes.