Warrants requested for four police officers in relation to Itaewon crush
The police requested arrest warrants for four police officers including Lee Im-jae, the former chief of the Yongsan Police Precinct, in relation to the Itaewon crowd crush.
Lee on Nov. 21 was questioned by the special investigation headquarters, set up by the National Police Agency, to investigate the crowd crush that look 158 lives on Oct. 29.
Lee is being investigated for having failed to take precautionary measures even though large crowds were expected in Itaewon on Halloween. Police are also looking into why he didn’t arrive at the scene until approximately 50 minutes after the disaster, which happened a little after 10 p.m. Lee claims that he was not informed about the incident in Itaewon until 11 p.m. on Oct. 29 and had not intentionally abandoned his duties.
Lee was also questioned by the National Assembly’s Public Administration and Security Committee on Nov. 16, during which the committee asked Lee about the claims that the Yongsan Police Precinct requested the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency provide more police personnel, which had not been given.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has said that it did not receive such a request from Yongsan on the day of the incident.
One of the other four police officers for whom arrest warrants were requested was Park Sung-min, a police superintendent general. Park is under suspicion of ordering an internal intelligence report to be deleted. The report warned about possible dangers during Halloween celebrations in Itaewon.
Arrest warrants for Kim Jin-ho, a former intelligence officer at Yongsan Police Precinct, and Song Byung-joo, a former emergency situation officer in charge of handling the 112 hotlines to Yongsan, were also requested Thursday.
A parliamentary investigation into the Itaewon crowd crush began on Nov. 24 and will continue until Jan. 7.
The probe will look into what occurred at the Presidential Office’s situation room, the National Security Office’s National Center for Crisis Management, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Interior and Safety, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, the National Police Agency, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Yongsan district office.
BY LIM JEONG-WON [email@example.com]