October 20, 2023
SEOUL – The government will focus its efforts on crowd control during the upcoming Halloween weekend, working together with local governments, police and fire departments and dispatching situation managers to densely populated areas, the Ministry of Interior and Safety said Thursday.
The Ministry of Interior and Safety held a joint meeting the same day with officials from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the National Police Agency, the National Fire Agency and 17 district governments including Yongsan-gu Office, Mapo-gu Office, Jung-gu Office in Seoul and Jung-gu Office in Daegu to discuss crowd management measures for the upcoming Halloween weekend, as well as for future events that are not hosted by a particular organization.
The Halloween event held last year in Itaewon resulted in a crowd crush that caused 159 deaths. The event faced criticism for not having an organizer, which made it difficult to determine who was responsible.
During the meeting, Yi Han-kyung, the head of the Ministry of Interior and Safety’s department for disaster and safety management, asked that inspections be conducted in pedestrian areas that are anticipated to see large crowds over the Halloween weekend. Yi proposed measures such as deploying safety personnel, designating certain areas as one-way streets, and establishing a cooperative system with municipalities and fire authorities to share information in case of an emergency.
From Oct. 27 to Nov. 1, the Ministry of Interior and Safety will also dispatch director-level situation managers to four areas that are expected to see especially large crowds — Itaewon, Hongdae and Myeongdong in Seoul, and Dongseong-ro in Daegu. The situation managers cooperate with related organizations. The ministry will also inspect Itaewon and Hongdae more closely on Oct. 26 and 27 to take preemptive measures against crowd crush-related incidents.