A Korean man was recently apprehended by the police for his questionable Halloween costume.
This year’s Halloween celebrations in Seoul have been a point of anxious discussions after last year’s Halloween Emergency at Itaewon. Halloween party-goers ended up in a tragic stampede in a narrow alley that claimed 159 lives and left the country traumatized. This year, the authorities have been vigilant in ensuring the public’s safety by taking cautionary steps such as deploying a large number of officials in concerned areas and restricting civilians from wearing police uniforms as costumes.
We will monitor whether police uniforms are sold online and crack down on any transactions found. We will also regulate those selling equipment of police under the counter.
— The National Police Agency, The Korea Herald
Amidst such a tense environment, a 38-year-old man landed himself in trouble with the police after he was reported to be carrying a machete in public. On October 31, police officials told reporters that the man had been booked for the possession of the deadly weapon that he claimed to be a part of his Halloween costume.
The suspect was reported by a civilian who owns a bar near Seohyeon Station in Bundang. On Saturday, October 29, he noticed the man when he dropped the knife while drinking at the bar before picking it up and leaving the establishment. The owner alerted the police immediately.
Authorities quickly responded and, after searching the area for about 30 minutes, apprehended the suspect. During questioning, he claimed he was carrying the weapon “because it is Halloween.”
He was released after the police secured his personal information. But they are planning to probe into whether the knife he was carrying is subject to approval for possession.
While the apprehension of another public disaster does surround Halloween in South Korea this year, this incident also stepped on another anxious nerve of the country, which has increasingly witnessed rampant and fatal knife attacks since August. Bundang, in particular, saw one of the earliest of these random stabbing incidents where a man ran his car onto the sidewalk before getting out and going on a knife rampage, injuring at least 14 people.