The police special investigation headquarters investigating the Itaewon disaster have concluded that the police chief, Commissioner Yoon Hee-geun, is innocent.

Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Commissioner Kim Gwang-ho also announced that he would conduct an investigation without detention, but the bereaved family strongly opposed the investigation, saying it was a tail-cutting investigation. 

This is Reporter Kim Hyung-rae.


Police Commissioner Yoon Hee-geun fell asleep after drinking while staying in the province on the day of the disaster.

He did not respond to text reports from his men on two occasions, and was only reached at 0:14 the next day.

[Yoon Hee-geun/Chief of Police (Yesterday): Because it was the weekend, I actually thought it was my private life...

On weekend evenings, I can drink too.

Should I reveal that?]

The Special Investigation Headquarters concluded that it could not hold Police Commissioner Yoon Hee-geun responsible for the Itaewon disaster.

Safety management when crowds gather is stipulated as the work of the local police, so the police chief, who has no legal obligations, cannot be held accountable. 

The special edition also set a policy of sending without detention the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Commissioner Kim Gwang-ho, who was in charge of security in Seoul on the day of the disaster, and Superintendent Ryu Mi-jin, who was in charge of the 112 situation room.

Unlike Lee Im-jae, former chief of the Yongsan Police Station, who was arrested, the duty of care, such as the possibility of predicting an accident, is not great.

In order to clear criminal responsibility, the necessary measures should not have been taken even after foreseeing the possibility of a disaster. The charge can be applied to field workers, but it is difficult to prove it to higher authorities.

In the two-month report card with only four arrestees, the families of the bereaved strongly protested that it was a 'tail cutting' investigation.

[Lee Jong-cheol/Representative of the Bereaved

Family Council: As a minister, mayor, and commander responsible for the life and safety of the people, is it so difficult to acknowledge and apologize?]

Investigations into higher-level institutions, such as the Seoul Metropolitan Government, are also expected to end without progress.

(Video coverage: Yang Doo-won, video editing: Lee Jae-seong)