Mon, 28 November 2022
The Daily Ittefaq

South Korea investigators raid police over crowd crush

Update : 02 Nov 2022, 17:37

Federal police in South Korea have raided local police departments as part of an investigation into alleged ineptitude. Police have already admitted mistakes in responding to the crowd surge that killed scores of people.

The National Police Agency of South Korea conducted raids on police departments in the capital, Seoul, on Wednesday as it sought to answer questions about the response to a deadly stampede that killed 156 people.

The swoops came a day after the national agency acknowledged that the Seoul police had failed to act in time, despite receiving numerous emergency calls.

The team of investigators raided several police offices, including one in the district where the disaster occurred.

"The special investigation team is conducting a raid on eight agencies including the Seoul Police Agency, Yongsan Police Station and the Yongsan Gu Office," the AFP news agency cited a police spokesman as saying.

The unit was said to be retrieving documents and other materials from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and Yongsan's police station, the fire department and other offices.

Earlier on Wednesday, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said the police would need to explain the lack of action after receiving multiple emergency calls warning of the danger in the hours before the crush killed so many.

After initial shock from the crush in Seoul's popular Itaewon district on Saturday, there was public outrage over alleged event planning missteps and the police response.

Tens of thousands of young party-goers had crowded into narrow streets and alleyways for the first Halloween festivities in three years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police on Tuesday agreed that Seoul police had failed to act for hours despite receiving at least 11 emergency calls from pedestrians warning about the swelling crowd.

Transcripts of emergency calls released by the police showed the first warning of a possible deadly crush came roughly four hours before the disaster.

As well as the fatalities, some 172 people were injured, 33 of whom were said to be in serious condition.

Officials said 26 of the dead were foreign, including five Iranians, four Chinese, four Russians, two Americans, and two Japanese nationals. Two-thirds of the victims were in their 20s, and the majority were women.


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