Halloween Crush in Seoul: Police Inspector Investigation into Disaster Found Dead


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CNN

A senior South Korean police inspector who was under investigation in connection with the deadly Halloween crowd in Seoul has been found dead in his home.

His family found the inspector dead at about 12:45 pm on Friday, according to South Korean police.

The police said they are investigating the circumstances of the accident.

The news comes after investigators raided the offices of the Yongsan District Police Station, which oversees the Itaewon nightlife district, where the stampede took place.

In one of the country’s worst disasters, 156 people were killed after tens of thousands of costumed party-goers flocked to the popular nightlife district, many becoming trapped as narrow streets clogged.

Public anger over the disaster has mounted since it emerged hours before the tragedy, members of the public called the police to warn of overcrowding problems.

Korean authorities also came under fire after witnesses said there were few crowd control measures in Itaewon on the night of the stampede – although police received warnings long before then.

Last week, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said investigators raided eight of its offices and confiscated documents related to reports that members of the public had given to emergency line 112.

The raids were carried out by a special investigation unit set up by the National Police Agency (NPA) to look into the disaster. The NPA said last week it had arrested the chief of Yongsan Police Station, one of the police stations closest to the crash site.

Records provided to CNN by the NPA show that police received at least 11 calls from people in Itaewon concerned about a possible mass crush four hours before the accident.

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The first call came at 6:34 p.m., when a caller warned, “It looks really dangerous… I’m afraid people are going to be crushed.”

Another caller said less than two hours later that there were so many people crowded in Itaewon’s narrow alleys that they kept falling and getting hurt.

Speaking to the media last week, the head of the New People’s Army, Yoon Hee-kyun, admitted for the first time that the police made mistakes in their response.

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

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