The Seoul crowd was crushed.  Local police offices have been dispatched to investigate  Crushing the crowd in Seoul

The Seoul crowd was crushed. Local police offices have been dispatched to investigate Crushing the crowd in Seoul

The Seoul crowd was crushed. Local police offices have been dispatched to investigate Crushing the crowd in Seoul

South Korea’s national police agency has raided local police stations in the capital Seoul and the city’s Yongsan district office as it investigates whether official incompetence contributed to crowd surge that claimed 156 lives Next to Itaewon.

The raids came a day after the agency acknowledged that Seoul police were unable to act for hours despite receiving at least 11 emergency calls from pedestrians warning of an out-of-control crowd of Halloween revelers in a narrow alley near the Hamilton Hotel on Saturday. : .

The agency said members of its special investigation unit are retrieving documents from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and the Yongsan Police Station, district office, fire department and other offices.

Local officials and police are facing questions about why they did not use crowd control measures or enough staff in the bustling night-time district, despite expecting a crowd of 100,000 people following the easing of Covid restrictions.

National Police Chief Yoon Hee-kyung also admitted that his initial investigation showed that police officers failed to effectively handle calls alerting authorities about the possible danger of a crowd gathering in Itaewon.

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Yoon said police have launched an internal investigation into officers’ handling of emergency calls and other matters, including the on-site response to a crowd surge in Itaewon that night.

His agency also released transcripts of 11 calls made by pedestrians to the police’s 112 emergency hotline in Itaewon on Saturday, the first at 6.30pm, four hours before the collision near the Hamilton Hotel.

An anonymous caller, who was near a shop in the alley where the massacre took place, asked for police to patrol the area because “too many people are going up and down and it’s too scary”.

“People can’t get down, but (people) go up too, and I think (they) might get crushed to death,” the caller said.

In the recordings of the 11 calls, callers used the Korean word for “crushed to death” 13 different times to convey their concerns.

South Korea’s interior minister and emergency office chief, Seoul’s mayor and the head of the Yeonsan Ward office, which governs Itaewon, have all issued public apologies.

As of Wednesday, 156 people were confirmed dead and 157 were being treated for injuries after they were trampled in a narrow alley on a narrow street that runs between a hotel and a dense row of shops.



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