State to Pay VT92M for Revoking Couple’s Citizenship

The Supreme Court has ordered the State to pay VT92 million to a Korean couple who have had their citizenships revoked in 2014.

Jong Phil Shin and his wife, Jung Yeon Yu, obtained citizenships on the basis of their customary adoptions. But they lost several businesses when the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) declined to issue them an approved certificate.

In her decision, Judge Viran Molisa Trief, stated: “The claimants have proved on the balance of probabilities their pain and suffering from the State’s actions.

“They suffered pain and trauma as they set out in the evidence including importantly, from having been rendered stateless.

“They had to renounce their Korean citizenships in order to take up Vanuatu Citizenship as Vanuatu did not at the time permit dual citizenship.”

“We lost everything-our businesses, our income and our savings. We were never given a legitimate reason,” Shin revealed this in his statement filed for the case.

Shin continued: “The complete shutdown of our income and continuous demand of repayment of loan affected my family’s mental state….Our eldest daughter had to find her own means to assist her financially-we cannot be there for her, as any parents should be.

“We have to live in constant fear that we may be forced to leave our home and belongings.”

The couple sought orders for general damages, special damages, interest and costs.

They owned Woorin Motors Ltd, a restaurant and takeaway called ‘Territory Bar and Family Karaoke’ located at Korman/Tassiriki Area and a leasehold property, which has been seized by the National Bank of Vanuatu in pursuant to the mortgage.

The State and VIPA as defendants did not file a defence, hence this default judgement.

Judge Trief awarded a sum of VT70 million to the claimants, as economic loss compensation from the leased title, VT6 million for Woorin Motors Ltd and Vt3 million for the restaurant and takeaway business.

Judge Trief ordered the State to pay another VT10, 000, 000 for their pain and suffering.

The State will pay an additional VT3 million as part of the 5% interest awarded on the economic loss in the couple’s restaurant and takeaway and Woorin Motors Ltd businesses.

The costs are to be paid within 21 days.

The State will advise the Court in a Conference on September 24, this Friday that it has paid the judgement sum and costs awarded or explain how it intends to do so.

Enforcement action will be taken if there is no satisfactory conclusion.

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