You'll recall that the issue of underwhelming compensation came up back in February when a guy burned down Namdaemun for the same reason. Says this article:
Chae nursed a grievance over insufficient compensation following the compulsory purchase of his home a decade ago.
But I really have no idea what they're talking about in the self-immolation story, or why the guy was forced to relocate, or what the deal is. The blog Gusts of Popular Feelings looks into relocation issues from time to time, so he'll probably have some insight and may get into this case a little more.
You may also recall that the impending beef import, since put on hold, have claimed two other lives. Two farmers killed themselves last month, their suicides spun to read as stories of despair created by a market flooded by cheap US beef. The guy in Hampyeong, who tried to take his whole family with him, actually lost all his cattle before all this hub-bub started, but local journalists aren't ones to let the facts stand in the way of a sensational story:
Frustrated by a fall in prices of hanwoo, or South Korea’s local breed of cattle, and a surge in feed costs, a 41-year-old farmer in Hampyeong, South Jeollla (sic) Province, committed suicide by drinking herbicide. It was the second suicide committed by a livestock farmer following the South Korean government’s decision to fully reopen its market to U.S. beef last month.
. . .
Local residents said that, Lee, who started raising cattle some 10 years ago, had been aggrieved over the loss of all 18 of his cattle since August last year, when the spread of brucellosis forced him to slaughter 14 of the 18 and sell the remaining four.
Well, I just don't think Koreans are very good at restraint or understatement.