Catholic Church in South Korea remembers victims of Seoul Halloween Crush
By Alastair Wanklyn
Churches across South Korea today held Mass for the more than 300 people dead or injured in a crush as they marked Halloween.
The Archbishop of Seoul said he is praying for the 156 revelers who died, and for the authorities involved.
The victims were mostly young people. Many were crushed and suffocated. Others fell and were trampled.
Archbishop of Seoul Peter Chung Soon-taick said he was praying for the victims and their families.
In a statement he expressed hope that “such a tragedy will not be repeated anymore.”
Archbishop of Seoul's closeness and prayers
The Archbishop expressed “sincere condolences to all the victims and pray that the Lord’s grace and comfort are with those who are suffering from the sudden loss of loved ones and family members.”
The disaster unfolded when thousands of revelers gathered in narrow streets in the Itaewon nightclub district of Seoul. There was little or no crowd control.
Phone calls to police appear to show the crush developed over about three hours, according to transcripts released to media.
The National Police Agency said the local police chief has been suspended.
The Archbishop of Seoul said he is praying for the authorities involved in the accident and those who worked on rescue operations.
On Sunday the Catholic Bishops Conference of Korea went one step further, describing a cycle of “irresponsibility that has become a common practice” in South Korean society. In their statement, they demanded action to make sure such “oblivion” is not repeated.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, North Korea fired a volley of missiles, apparently in a show of force as South Korean and United States troops continue joint exercises. The North fired 23 missiles from both its shores, toward Japan, China and into waters that South Korea considers its territory.