Seoul, Jan 9 (EFE).- The investigation into the crowd crush that killed more than 150 people in Seoul during Halloween celebrations on Oct. 29 will be completed this month, with the possibility of negligence charges being brought against several top officials of security and emergency services, police sources told local news agency Yonhap.
The highest-ranking officials set to be formally charged include the head of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Kim Kwang-ho.
Others expected to be prosecuted are the SMPA in-charge of emergencies on the day, Ryu Mi-jin, and Choi Seong-beom, the head of the firefighting department in the Yongsan district, which includes the Itaewon neighborhood, the location of the tragedy.
Officials linked to the interior ministry or the Seoul Metropolitan Government may not be indicted, as the National Police Agency – in charge of the investigation – had established in its preliminary probe that the tragedy’s responsibility lay with local-level authorities, security forces and emergency services.
Specifically, the spotlight has remained on the Yongsan local government, its police offices and fire stations, apart from the SMPA.
Sources consulted by Yonhap said that the probe could be completed before the Lunar New Year, which will be celebrated in South Korea on Jan. 22 this year.
A crowd running into tens of thousands had gathered in Itaewon on the night of Oct. 29 to celebrate Halloween.
Overcrowding on a narrow street that connects the neighborhood’s main avenue, Itaewon ro, to a busy area of bars and clubs resulted in a crush in which 158 people were killed, most of them women aged between 20 and 30.
Authorities raised the death toll from the tragedy to 159 after a teenager who survived the stampede – in which two of his friends were killed – died by suicide in December. EFE