After the inauguration of President Yoon Seok-yeol in May of last year, intelligence officers at the Yongsan Police Station said, “We don’t need local information. Testimonies came out that they had been instructed to focus on managing the assembly. As a result, it was found that the intelligence officer in charge of the Itaewon area was not deployed to the scene at the time of the Itaewon disaster. It was pointed out immediately after the disaster that if an intelligence officer had been deployed, the police would have responded quickly in the event of an emergency.
On the afternoon of the 22nd, the 11th Criminal Division of the Seoul Western District Court (Presiding Judge Bae Seong-joong) held the first trial date for Park Seong-min, former head of the information department of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, Kim Jin-ho, former information chief of the Yongsan Police Station, and employee A of the information department. Former manager Park and former manager Kim are accused of instructing Mr. A to delete data files related to Halloween preparations immediately after the disaster (teachers to destroy evidence, teachers to damage public electronic records, etc.).
Mr. B, an intelligence officer at the Yongsan Police Station, who appeared as a witness at the trial that day, stated that he was unable to attend the Halloween festival because of the atmosphere of concentrating on managing the assembly even after writing the ‘Itaewon Danger Report’. Mr. B, an intelligence officer who was in charge of the Itaewon area, said, “I didn’t have enough time to do information work in my area (Itaewon) due to the management of large-scale gatherings from June to October.” different from I couldn’t even dare to say that I would go out for local information activities because I didn’t need local information,” he said.
In fact, Mr. B wrote the ‘Itaewon Halloween Festival Public Safety Risk Analysis’ on October 26 of last year and reported it to former manager Kim, but he said안전놀이터, “Are intelligence officers deployed on Christmas? (Halloween festival) is like Christmas. It is not the intelligence officer’s job.” Mr. B wrote a report to the effect of ‘I think I should go out’ because it was a festival held in his area, but former manager Kim said, “I have to manage the assembly on the weekend, so I don’t have to go.”
On the day of the disaster, Mr. B was not assigned to the site of the Halloween festival because he was managing a large-scale assembly around the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. In this regard, Mr. B said, “I know that one or two intelligence officers went out in the past (during the Halloween festival).” We can see and talk to each other, so if we say ‘help’, we can respond immediately.”
Regarding the fact that after the disaster occurred, former chief Kim and former intelligence chief of the Yongsan Police Station, Mr. C called Mr. B and said, “Who knows who wrote the report, how about saying that he didn’t write it?” . I remember that it was an unfair instruction.” Mr. B cried several times during the testimony, and once sobbed.
Meanwhile, the 10.29 Itaewon Disaster Bereaved Families Association and Citizens’ Countermeasures Conference held a press conference on the afternoon of the same day and said, “The police predicted the possibility of a safety accident in Itaewon even while writing the report. “This report suggests that the disaster could have been prevented if those responsible had been prepared in advance,” he said.