Ex-Yongsan police chief quizzed again in Itaewon crowd crush probe

SEOUL– A special police investigation team questioned a former chief of the Yongsan Police Station on Sunday as part of its investigation into the bungled response to the deadly crowd crush in Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood.

The questioning of Lee Im-jae comes about a week after a court denied the investigation team’s request for a warrant to arrest him, citing the need to guarantee the right to defend himself.

Lee has been booked on charges of professional negligence and manslaughter by negligence resulting in the deaths, police said. Lee is accused of arriving at the site late, some 50 minutes after the tragedy happened.

He is also accused of not taking enough crowd control measures after prior warnings of overcrowding during the Halloween celebrations, police said.

The crowd crush killed 158 people in the Itaewon district of the Yongsan Ward on Oct. 29. Lee was relieved of duty as the Yongsan Police Station chief following the incident.

“I will sincerely engage myself in the investigation,” Lee told reporters earlier in the morning before the questioning.

The investigation team is reportedly determining whether to seek an arrest warrant again for Lee on the additional suspicion that he falsified a situation report for the night of the accident.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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