November 3, 2022
KUALA LUMPUR – On Wednesday (Nov 2), Reuters reported the death toll from the Halloween party crush late Saturday in Itaewon, central Seoul, stands at 156, with 172 injured, 33 of whom were in serious condition.
While there is no explanation yet from the authority as to why the crowd went into that one narrow passage, there are rumours about what triggered it.
According to an entertainment portal, netizens are speculating that celebrities and influencers were present at the district on the said evening and that was what caused the surge.
One actor’s name connected to this baseless rumour is Yoo Ah-in, 36, who is said to live in Itaewon and has often visited the entertainment district.
On Tuesday, his agency came out with a statement to deny the rumour.
It said that the Seoul Vibe star “had no part in what happened in Itaewon” and that “he left Korea on Oct 29 and is currently overseas”.
According to an article, besides Yoo, Korean influencer Park Jung-kyu (better known as BJ K) has also been targeted. As translated by the website, Park spoke out against the online bullies.
“I first want to express my deepest condolences to the victims. It’s truly tragic. However, I’ve been receiving a lot of hate messages from people online saying that people were crowding over to the area where the crush happened to come to the bar that I was in, but that’s nonsense.”
“I only had to go into one of the bars to escape the large crowd outside and stayed indoors for just 30 minutes because the bartenders said it looked too dangerous outside. The rumours are getting out of hand.”
He’s not wrong. Even the two celebrities who died amid the crowd crush in Itaewon – actor Lee Ji-han and cheerleader Kim Yu-na – are unfortunately being blamed by netizens for the incident as well.
AP and AFP report “that bereaved families and friends’ grief is mixed with anger about officials’ failure to employ crowd controls in a small nightlife district jammed with tens of thousands of partiers”.
The report also stated that “the national agency acknowledged that Seoul police failed to act for hours despite receiving at least 11 emergency calls from pedestrians warning about a swelling crowd of Halloween revellers getting out of control ahead of the crush on Saturday”.