Crime & Justice

South Korea police requests probe into officials over Itaewon disaster

Seoul, Nov 3 (EFE).- South Korea’s National Police Agency (NPA) has requested an investigation into the head of the Yongsan district police station in the capital and a situation monitoring officer at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency over the Itaewon Halloween tragedy.

The decision comes after criticism of police inaction last Saturday in the popular nightlife neighborhood where more than 150 people died in a crowd crush.

The emergency services received 11 calls alerting them to overcrowding before the tragedy occurred, with little action, according to Yonhap news agency.

New details from the ongoing investigation revealed that the NPA chief learned of the incident some two hours after it happened and more than an hour after President Yoon Suk-yeol was informed.

The NPA has asked for probes into Yongsan Police Station chief Lee Im-jae and Ryu Mi-jin, who was in charge of situation monitoring at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency that day.

Ryu has been accused of negligence for failing to quickly recognize the emergency and inform the relevant authorities, while Lee has been accused of neglecting his command duties in being slow to respond, according to Yonhap.

Both have been temporarily suspended as a disciplinary measure.

This action has been carried out within the framework of the investigation into the incident launched by the central government to seek responsibility for what happened, and which extends to the police, firefighters and local administrations.

Some 100,000 people gathered last Saturday in the streets of the popular area of bars in Seoul, causing congestion and a crush of people in a narrow alleyway, leaving 156 dead and 33 seriously injured. EFE


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