Police again seek arrest warrant for ex-Yongsan police chief

SEOUL– Police have again sought a warrant to arrest a former chief of the Yongsan Police Station as part of their investigation into the bungled response to the deadly crowd crush in Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood.

Earlier, a court denied a special investigation team’s request for the arrest of Lee Im-jae, former head of the Yongsan Police Station covering the Itaewon district. The court cited the need to guarantee the suspect’s right to defense.

The investigation team filed the warrant with a court late Tuesday, and the court will hold a hearing to determine his arrest Friday. The decision is expected late Friday or early Saturday.

Lee has been booked on charges of professional negligence and manslaughter by negligence resulting in the deaths of 158 people.

The former chief is also 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.

Police have also sought an arrest warrant for Yongsan Ward office chief Park Hee-young and two ward officials.

Park has been booked on charges of professional negligence for failing to meet her duties to promptly respond to the accident.

The court is scheduled to hold a hearing for Park on Monday, with the decision expected late Monday or nearly Tuesday.

The hearing was postponed as Park has tested positive for COVID-19, court officials said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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