POLICE OFFICER INVESTIGATED OVER SEOUL HALLOWEEN CROWD CRUSH FOUND DEAD
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREAN: A South Korean police officer who was being investigated in connection with the Halloween crowd crush that killed more than 150 people in Seoul City was found dead Friday, police said.
The 55-years-old, identified only by his surname Jeong, was found dead at his home in Seoul City, an official at the National Police Agency told AFP.
Jeong, an intelligence officer, had been working for the police station that oversaw the district of Itaewon, an entertainment area in the South Korean capital where the crush took place.
His officer...the Yongsan Police Station--is one of the targets of a major investigation into the disaster, including botched crowd control efforts.
Investigators had previously raided the police station.
Transcripts of emergency calls, released earlier this month by the police, showed their hotline had received 11 reports of dangerous crowding nearly four hours before disaster struck, but apparently failed to take action.
The 156 people that died in the crush were mainly young women, including a handful of teenagers and more than two (2) dozen foreigners.
At least 100,000 people had flocked to the area to celebrate the first post-pandemic Halloween, but neither local authorities nor police had planned measures for a crowd that large.
A handful of top officials including the police chief, Seoul mayor and the interior minister issued public apologies last week, admitting they had failed to prevent the fatal disaster.
Jeong had been accused of ordering the destruction of an intelligence report--which had warned of a potential accident over Halloween in Itaewon--among other infractions, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Thousands of people gathered in Seoul at a candlelight vigil over the weekend to mourn the victims, with public anger growing over the government's handling of the tragedy.
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