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Police set up reform task force following Halloween crowd crush

All News 14:53 November 14, 2022

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Yonhap) -- Police said Monday that they have set up a task force to overhaul the agency in an effort to prevent the recurrence of tragedies such as the crowd crush in Seoul's Itaewon neighborhood.

Lee Chang-won, president of Hansung University, and Cho Hyun-bai, former chief of the Coast Guard, will chair the task force, which will hold the first meeting sometime soon, the National Police Agency (NPA) said in a written statement.

The move comes amid mounting criticism over police bungling the response to the crowd surge in Itaewon that killed at least 158 people, mostly in their 20s, on Oct. 29. An independent team under the NPA is currently investigating the tragedy.

The task force will be first tasked with reviewing the current procedures and monitoring system and will propose recommendations, the NPA said.

The task force will also look into ways to improve crowd control following insufficient control planning and accident prevention measures for large gatherings.

Meanwhile, Yoon Hee-keun, commissioner general of the NPA, refuted allegations that the agency is trying to shift the responsibility of the accident to working-level officers.

Some front-line police officers have blamed the leadership and the government for insufficiently arranging manpower at the Itaewon district on the day and instead focusing on faults by working-level officers.

"It is not true at all that I am shifting the responsibility of the accident to working-level officers," Yoon said in a written statement.

Police set up reform task force following Halloween crowd crush - 1

khj@yna.co.kr
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