The crowd crush that happened Saturday night at Itaewon district of the South Korean capital Seoul during Halloween celebrations can be blamed in part on incomplete crowd management, according to South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Tuesday.
"It seemed that one of the significant reasons (for the incident) was eventually crowd management, for which (South Korea) somewhat lacks sufficient institutional support and systematic efforts," Han told a press conference with foreign correspondents in Seoul.
Han said that even if more police officers were to be deployed to Itaewon, it would have had limitations in controlling the massive crowd given that the country had incomplete regulations on crowd management.
The prime minister vowed to enhance relevant rules to prevent the recurrence of similar disasters, noting that what were the decisive factors of the incident would be determined by the ongoing police investigations.
At least 156 people were killed and 151 others injured in the country's deadliest disaster since a ferry sinking incident left 304 people, mostly high school students, dead in April 2014.
The incident was believed to have been caused by huge crowds surging into a narrow hilly alley and toppling over one another at the popular nightlife district in Seoul.
Most of the victims were those in their late teens, 20s and 30s as over 100,000 people gathered in Itaewon for the country's biggest no-mask outdoor Halloween festivities since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The shortage of police officers to control the crowd, who got trapped and crushed on the overcrowded streets, was believed to have fueled the disastrous crowd crush.
According to the police, 137 police officers had been mobilized for the Saturday Halloween event.