Police inspector being investigated over Seoul’s Halloween crush found dead

By Yoonjung Seo, Rhea Mogul and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Seoul CNN  —  A senior South Korean police inspector who was being investigated in connection with the deadly Halloween crowd crush in Seoul has been found dead in his home.

The inspector was found lifeless by his family at around 12:45pm on Friday, according to South Korean police.

The police said they are investigating the circumstances.

The news comes after investigators raided the offices of the Yongsan district police station, which oversees the nightlife neighborhood of Itaewon, where the crush took place.

In what was one of the country’s worst disasters, 156 people died after tens of thousands of costumed partygoers celebrating Halloween poured into the popular nightlife district, many of them becoming trapped as the narrow streets clogged up.

Public anger over the disaster has mounted since it emerged that hours before the tragedy members of the public had phoned the police to warn of overcrowding problems.

Korean authorities have also come under fire after witnesses said there were little to no crowd control measures in place in Itaewon on the night of the crush – despite police receiving warnings far in advance.

Last week, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said investigators raided eight of its offices and seized documents relating to reports made by members of the public to the 112 emergency hotline.

The raids were carried out by a special investigative unit created by the National Police Agency (NPA) to look into the disaster. The NPA said last week it had suspended the chief of the Yongsan police station, one of the police stations closest to the crush site.

Records given to CNN by the NPA show police received at least 11 calls from people in Itaewon concerned about the possibility of a crowd crush as early as four hours before the incident occurred.

The first call came at 6:34 p.m., when a caller warned, “It looks really dangerous … I fear people might get crushed.”

Another caller less than two hours later said there were so many people packed into Itaewon’s narrow alleys that they kept falling over and getting hurt.

Speaking to the media last week, NPA chief Yoon Hee-keun admitted for the first time that police had made mistakes in their response.

He added that the police response to the emergency calls had been “inadequate,” and that he felt a “heavy responsibility” as the agency head.

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