An alley in the Itaewon district is cordoned off with yellow tape after a stampede during Halloween celebrations, in Seoul, South Korea, 30 October 2022. EFE-EPA/YONHAP SOUTH KOREA OUT/FILE

Seoul to deploy 1,200 agents on Halloween in Itaewon to prevent crush

Seoul, Oct 23 (EFE).- The Seoul police announced Monday they would deploy more than 1,000 officers in the narrow streets of Itaewon neighborhood during Halloween festivities to control crowds and prevent tragedies such as the one that occurred last year.

The Metropolitan Police Agency of the capital on Monday presented its security reinforcement plan that will be in force from Friday until Oct. 31 in 16 areas of the city, including those where a special influx of people is expected for Halloween, such as Itaewon, Hongdae, Gangnam or Myeongdong.

A total of 1,260 officers from 12 police stations and a dozen squads will be in these areas during the weekend, with the aim of guiding the movement of people to avoid crowds and dispersing the crowd if necessary.

Police investigators scrutinize an alley following a deadly stampede the previous day during Halloween celebrations, in Seoul's Itaewon district, in Seoul, South Korea, 30 October 2022. EFE-EPA/YONHAP SOUTH KOREA OUT/FILE

Local authorities have designated a total of 16 narrow streets in the aforementioned areas considered to be at some risk of traffic jams and human avalanches, including the Itaewon alley where the disaster that left 159 dead during the 2022 Halloween celebrations took place.

“We anticipate that the crowds will go this year to the districts of Mapo and Gangnam, rather than to Yongsan” (district where Itaewon is located), said a police spokesperson in statements reported by local agency Yonhap.

The police security plan has been prepared in collaboration with local governments and has also contemplated risk scenarios such as indiscriminate attacks such as the ones in various parts of the capital in recent months or large-scale terrorism.

An investigation carried out by the police itself concluded in January that last year’s deadly Halloween incident was caused by the authorities’ inability to adopt disaster prevention measures and respond promptly to the emergency situation created. EFE