Itaewon’s District Officials Are Under Intense Criticism For Evading Responsibility Over Itaewon Tragedy

The district’s mayor has yet to apologize.

As the Korean public mourns the loss of lives at an Itaewon Halloween event, anger is mounting at city officials and politicians who have yet to accept responsibility for the tragedy.

Itaewon on October 29 | News1

In an exclusive report, news outlet Hankyoreh released an interview it had conducted with Park Hee Young, the District Mayor of Yongsan-gu. Itaewon is a district of Yongsan where the tragedy took place.

Park Hee Young | News1

According to Hankyoreh, they received an email from the mayor’s office. The email provided a cell phone number labeled “Yongsan District Mayor Hotline,” according to the news outlet, Hankyoreh had called twice with no answer. Two hours later, the mayor called back and spoke to reporters.

Aftermath of the Itaewon Halloween tragedy |

The news outlet asked why the district mayoral’s office wasn’t available to speak to the press and asked why she had yet to reveal an official statement. Park Hee Young replied that due to her being at the scene of the incident and helping transfer the victims to the hospital, she had no time to prepare one.

Last night I helped secure a location to move the deceased victims, as well as helped families identify their lost loved ones. The last victim we moved was at six in the morning. I then secured a location where family members could report missing persons in Hannam-Dong, after which I, along with Seoul City’s civil service employees, helped identify victims at the Yongsan-gu office. We connected victims with hospitals and worked to secure logistical routes. I didn’t have time until this afternoon to make a statement for the press. Dealing with the aftermath of the incident was more important, and I was focused on the rescue operations.

— Park Hee Young

The Hankyoreh then asked the mayor to speak on the fact that in her official statement, which she released at 5 PM on October 30, there were no mentions of accountability, nor were there any messages of apology for failing to prevent the tragedy from occurring. The district mayor replied that rather than giving a “soul-less” apology, she felt it was more important to reveal the preparations that were made and whether those preparations had worked.

Rather than a ‘soul-less’ apology, I felt it was more important to identify what preparations were made and if those preparations had worked. We are currently investigating with the overlooking department to identify which plans were enforced and which weren’t.

— Park Hee Young

When Hankyoreh pressed for further insight into some of the preventative strategies that were made in preparation, the district mayor stated that she would soon reveal them.

From my understanding, 11 departments each asked for cooperation with the police and subway workers while planning a strategy. On the first day of the meeting, I was at another event and so only received a brief of the results of the meeting. The responsible departments are currently identifying the list of strategies. I will soon reveal it.

— Park Hee Young

Netizens were not impressed by the district Mayor’s statements. They were particularly upset over Park Hee Young’s statement when she alluded to a “soul-less” apology.

| Theqoo

  • “So they are saying they don’t even have an ounce of guilt.”
  • “They are saying they don’t feel a shred of responsibility. It’s pretty shocking.”
  • “How can it be ‘soul-less,’ f@ck.”
  • “They are useless and have no accountability.”
  • “How can it be ‘soul-less’? They are saying they aren’t going to apologize?”
  • “She’s like a psychopath.”
  • “Don’t you think it’s problematic that you won’t even adhere to formalities and give out an apology? You guys don’t have any sense of responsibility.”

What are your thoughts?

Source: hankyoreh and theqoo

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