On Halloween, detectives raid police stations in Seoul

On Halloween, detectives raid police stations in Seoul

On Halloween, detectives raid police stations in Seoul



CNN:

Investigators are investigating crowd crush Police raided Seoul on Wednesday, killing 156 people during South Korea’s Halloween celebrations.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said investigators raided eight of its offices and seized internal reports and documents related to reports made by members of the public to the 112 emergency hotline.

Among the offices searched was the Yongsan District Police Station, which oversees the nightlife district of Itaewon, where the massacre took place.

The raids come at a time when Korean authorities are on the rise public pressure and angerAccording to witnesses, it happened there is little crowd control The night of the Itaewon massacre, even though the police had received warnings in advance.

Saturday’s deadly stampede took place on a stretch of narrow streets where witnesses described being unable to move or breathe as the massive crowd packed a street no more than 4 meters (13 feet) wide. It has since emerged that members of the public called police to warn of overcrowding hours before the first deaths were reported.

Wednesday’s searches were carried out by a special investigation unit that was set up just a day earlier by the National Police Agency (NPA) to investigate the disaster.

On Wednesday, the NPA said it had fired the chief of the Yongsan Police Station, one of the police stations closest to the scene of the massacre.

“Chief Lee Im-jae cannot perform his normal duties given the current situation,” the NPA said, adding that his successor would be announced later in the day.

On Halloween, detectives raid police stations in Seoul

Recordings provided to CNN by the NPA show that police received at least 11 calls from people in Itaewon concerned about a possible mob attack in the four hours before the incident.

The first call was made at 6:34 p.m., when the caller warned: “It looks really dangerous… I’m afraid people might get crushed.”

Another caller asked for traffic control less than two hours later, saying so many people had crowded into Itaewon’s narrow alleys that they kept falling and getting hurt.

National Police Agency Commissioner Yoon Hee-kyung bows during a press conference in Seoul, South Korea on November 1.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, NPA chief Yoon Hee-kyung admitted for the first time that the police had made mistakes in their response.

“There were a number of reports on the police emergency hotline indicating the seriousness (of the situation) immediately before the accident,” he said. “According to reports, a large crowd had gathered before the accident and reports from the police hotline (reported danger).”

He added that the police response to emergency calls was “inadequate” and that he felt a “heavy responsibility” as head of the agency.

It was at the press conference on Tuesday that he announced the creation of a special investigative unit that conducted searches on Wednesday.

The unit will “transparently reveal the truth,” Yun promised.

Police stand guard over a crowd in Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea on October 30.

Other government agencies have too admitted to being unprepared. The Interior Ministry said Monday it had no guidelines to deal with the surge in crowds because it was not caused by a single event with a single organizer.

“One of the reasons for the disaster was a lack of deep institutional knowledge and attention to crowd management,” Prime Minister Han Dak-su said on Tuesday.

He added that even if more police were deployed, they could be ineffective because “we don’t have a crowd control system.”



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