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More than 40 trapped in South Korea fire-witness

MORE than 40 people are believed to be trapped inside a building in Seoul that was engulfed in flames in a standoff between police and residents protesting demolition in the area, a witness said today.

At least one person was taken out of the building and is believed dead, according to the eyewitness. Two were led away by emergency officials and believed to have been taken to hospital.

Police commandos were moving into the building to search for people inside and evacuate those who had managed to avoid the blaze and were on the rooftop chanting protest slogans, the witness said.

Dozens of tenants of the largely commercial area in the middle of the South Korean capital slated for a major redevelopment project have been fighting with police and throwing Molotov cocktails since early yesterday, demanding better compensation.

Emergency rescue officials on the scene and reached by telephone said the situation was developing urgently but could not immediately confirm casualties.


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