Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(LEAD) Police squad first arrives at Itaewon crowd scene about 85 minutes later

All News 13:27 November 06, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in paras 6-8)
By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Nov. 6 (Yonhap -- A police squad first arrived at the scene of the Halloween crowd crush in Seoul nearly 85 minutes after the incident erupted, police data showed Sunday.

A total of five police squads affiliated with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) were mobilized on the day of the crowd crush in Seoul's Itaewon district that killed at least 156 people, mostly those in their 20s, according to the data submitted by the SMPA to Rep. Lee Tae-won of the main opposition Democratic Party.

The No. 11 police squad first arrived at the scene at 11:40 p.m. on Oct. 29 under the instruction of Lee Im-Jae, a former chief of the Yongsan Police Station that includes the Itaewon neighborhood. The first call to the police's 112 emergency hotline was made around 10:15 p.m.

Four other squads arrived at the scene one by one, starting from 11:50 p.m. on Oct. 29 to 1:14 a.m. on Oct. 30, according to the SMPA data.

Lee -- temporarily suspended from his post -- was also found to have arrived at the Itaewon police substation at 11:05 p.m., some 50 minutes after the crush happened.

Also, a total of eight units of conscripted policemen were ordered to be dispatched to the scene at 12:11 a.m. on Oct. 30, the data showed. The role of conscripted policemen is to support police officers in various tasks such as patrol.

The first unit arrived at the scene at 12:50 a.m. on Oct. 30, followed by seven others up until 1:12 a.m., it said.

Kim Kwang-ho, chief of the SMPA, was also belatedly briefed by the Yongsan police chief at 11:36 p.m. on Oct. 29, leaving the top police command in the dark for more than an hour, the data showed.

An independent team of investigators announced that Lee had belatedly arrived at the police substation after he had insisted on moving by his car despite a heavy traffic jam around the Itaewon area at the time.

After leaving a restaurant where he had been having dinner with officers from his office, Lee had arrived at Noksapyeong Station at around 10 p.m. The station is located just 10 minutes by foot from the scene.

However, Lee's car detoured from the subway station to find other ways, and he was only able to arrive at a street near the police substation around between 10:55 p.m. and 11:01 p.m.

Rescuers move injured people in Seoul's Itaewon district on Oct. 30, 2022. (Yonhap)

Rescuers move injured people in Seoul's Itaewon district on Oct. 30, 2022. (Yonhap)


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!