Crime & Justice

Officer under investigation over Halloween crush found dead

Seoul, Nov 11 (EFE).- A Seoul police officer, who was under investigation over an alleged cover-up of the Halloween crush that left over 150 dead, was found dead Friday.

Police have not found a note that suggests he could have taken his own life, but co-workers of the 55-year-old officer called Jeong, have reported that they received calls from him the day before that point to that possibility.

Both the Yongsan city council and its fire and police departments are under investigation over their response to the tragedy amid allegations security services ignored calls to ramp up police presence in the Itaewon neighborhood where the incident took place.

On October 29, a Halloween gathering in downtown Seoul resulted in a tragic crush that left 156 dead and 33 seriously injured.

Jeong, from the Yongsan District Police Station, was under investigation and had been temporarily suspended from his post on Wednesday on allegations that he had ordered a report warning of a possible accident in Itaewon during the annual gathering to be deleted.

The officer was facing several charges including abuse of authority, destruction of evidence and professional negligence resulting in death.

The team investigating the tragedy on Friday issued a ban on the mayor of Yongsan, Park Hee-young, preventing her from leaving the country. The mayor is also accused of negligence resulting in death.

The probe is looking into whether Park had a proper disaster prevention plan in place for the popular Halloween event — the neighborhood welcomed over 100,000 people this year — and whether she did her duty when it came to responding to the tragedy.

According to some reports, Park was absent from several high-level meetings on security management in the district in the days leading up to the deadly party and was also absent from subsequent crisis cabinet meetings.EFE


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