Gov’t to draw up police reform, safety measures by next month: PM

SEOUL– Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said Thursday the government will draw up comprehensive plans to reform the police and improve safety management systems after the deadly Halloween crowd crush in Seoul.

“The government will come up with related measures, such as the pan-government disaster safety management system, police innovation and safety management measures, to prevent multiple crowd accidents by next month,” Han said at a response meeting.

Calls for accountability have mounted over the Oct. 29 crowd collapse that killed at least 156 people in Seoul’s Itaewon district, with police facing huge criticism for a lack of crowd control at that time.

The government will hold to account those who were found to be responsible, Han said.

“Throughout a thorough investigation, we will make sure that the truth is found out,” Han said. “According to the results, whoever is responsible will be held accountable.”

The government began operations at a “one-stop” support center Thursday where families of victims and others affected by the crowd crush can continue to receive medical and other assistance, Han said.
Later in the day, Han told reporters he will advise President Yoon Suk-yeol to strictly hold to account those who are responsible for the tragedy “regardless of who they are” after the investigation is over.

Han made the remarks in response to a question about media criticism that the ongoing investigation has focused on giving too much attention to faults by working-level police and fire officials.

Opposition lawmakers have demanded Interior and Safety Minister Lee Sang-min, who is in charge of public safety, and National Police Agency chief Yoon Hee-keun be sacked.

Asked whether the prime minister would stake his post on political responsibility for the tragedy, Han replied, “I think no one be an exception to having to take action from responsibility in line with the outcome of the investigation.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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