South Korea’s National Police Agency has raided a local police station in the capital Seoul and the city’s Yongsan Ward Office to investigate whether the incompetence of authorities contributed to the surge in crowds that killed 156 people around Itaewon.
Despite receiving at least 11 emergency calls from pedestrians warning that the Halloween ruckus crowd was spiraling out of control before it rolled in a narrow alley near the Hamilton Hotel on Saturday, what Seoul police said. The house was searched the day after the agency admitted that he had not acted for hours.
According to the agency, members of the special investigation team have obtained documents from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and the Yongsan police station, ward office, and fire department.
Local officials and police failed to employ crowd control measures and adequate staffing in the bustling nightlife district despite an expected crowd of 100,000 as COVID-19 restrictions eased. I am having doubts as to why.
National Police Chief Yoon Hee-geun also admitted that initial investigations found that police officers were unable to effectively handle calls to notify authorities about the potential danger of crowds gathering in Itaewon. rice field.
Yoon said police had launched an internal investigation into other matters, including responding to police emergency calls and spotting a surge in crowds in Itaewon that night.
His agency also released records of 11 calls Saturday made by pedestrians in Itaewon to the police’s 112 emergency hotline. The first call was made around 6:30 p.m., four hours before his crash near the Hamilton Hotel.
An unidentified caller who was near a shop in a crushed alley pleaded with police to tighten restrictions in the area because “too many people were going back and forth and it was too scary.”
“People can’t get down, but[people]are pushing up. I think[they]can be crushed to death,” the caller said.
In the transcripts of 11 calls, callers used the Korean word for “crushed” 13 times to convey their concerns.
South Korea’s interior minister, the head of the emergency response office, the mayor of Seoul, and the head of the Yongsan-gu office that manages Itaewon have all publicly apologized.
As of Wednesday, 156 people had been confirmed dead and 157 were being treated for injuries after being trampled in the rushing crowd in narrow alleyways running between the hotel and dense storefronts.