SEOUL-- The Seoul metropolitan government again has won a lawsuit seeking state compensation for the money it spent to clean up polluted underground water in areas near the old U.S. Forces Korea headquarters in Yongsan, court officials said Sunday.

The Seoul Central District Court has recently ordered the state to pay some 538 million won (US$479,928) in the lawsuit filed by the local government, the officials said.

The city government filed the lawsuit in September last year, demanding the state compensation for the money it spent purifying the contaminated water under a subway station and Camp Kim, adjacent to the old U.S. Yongsan base.

"It is recognized that oil had been constantly spilled from an underground oil storage tank inside a U.S. Army base, which had been managed by the U.S. troops in Korea since 2001, contaminating nearby land owned by the Seoul city government, and that the government has spent its own funds to conduct surveys on the contamination and the purification work," the court said in the verdict.

"Since the Seoul metropolitan government suffered losses from paying expenses to inspect and clean up the contamination caused by negligence or defects in the preservation and management of facilities in the U.S. Forces Korea, the state is responsible for compensating it for the damages under Article 2 of the civil law for the U.S. Forces Korea."

The Special Civil Act on the Enforcement of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) governing the status of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea, which was legislated in 2009, stipulates that the Korean government should provide compensation for the damages caused by members or employees of the USFK to third parties other than the government.

Including the latest one, the local government has won all 10 lawsuits it lodged against the central government to recover all the money it spent inspecting and cleaning up polluted underground water near the Yongsan base.

Source: Yonhap News Agency