Kim Kwang-ho, head of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, was accused of professional negligence resulting in injury or death, the capital’s western district prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The stampede occurred as tens of thousands of people gathered on the night of October 29, 2022, to celebrate the first Halloween party since the pandemic, which took place in Seoul’s cosmopolitan Itaewon district.
On the night in question, Kim “did not take necessary measures, such as deploying sufficient police forces and ensuring adequate command and supervision”, despite being able to “predict the potential dangers arising” from the presence of too many people , according to the statement.
Kim, the highest-ranking police officer to be tried in this case, was charged but is not in custody.
“Together with the Yongsan police chief [distrito de Seul] and the head of Yongsan Municipal Council, who are currently on trial, collectively caused the death of 158 people and injuries to 312 people due to professional negligence”, the MP further noted.
The victims’ families lamented the long delay in the decision to charge Kim Kwang-ho.
“Kim must immediately abandon his duties and be taken to court,” family members said in a statement.
Furthermore, they called on South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to “fire Kim immediately.”
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