South Korea cancels concerts, government briefings after Itaewon crush

Flowers are placed in front of the scene where many people died and were injured in a stampede during Halloween festivities in Itaewon, Seoul. PHOTO: REUTERS
An Australian man reacts while looking for his friend's name on the list of missing people at a community service center after a stampede during Halloween festivities in Seoul. PHOTO: REUTERS
A parent of a victim reacts at a community service center after a stampede during Halloween festivities in Seoul. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL – As the death toll exceeds 150 following a crush during Halloween celebrations in Seoul, South Korea is cancelling events from government briefings to K-pop concerts.

President Yoon Suk-yeol on Sunday declared a period of national mourning that will run until Nov 5.

The Finance Ministry called off a planned press briefing with foreign media, while local officials cancelled events including Halloween parties and the opening ceremony for one of the Korea’s largest sales festivals.

A major K-pop event in Busan that was expected to draw about 40,000 people was also cancelled, the organiser said.

Theme parks operated by Samsung C&T and Hotel Lotte – Everland in Yongin and Lotte World in Jamsil – also cancelled Halloween-related parades and firework displays scheduled throughout November.

SM Entertainment announced that the company’s Halloween party, which was to be broadcast online, will not go ahead.

Starbucks Korea and some department stores halted promotions of Halloween-related products, according to Yonhap News.

The human crush occurred on Saturday night in Seoul’s Itaewon district during an annual festival that draws tens of thousands of people.

The incident happened at about 10.20pm local time, fire authorities said, as a large number of people entered a narrow alley behind the Hamilton Hotel. BLOOMBERG

Flags fly at half-mast outside the National Assembly building a day after a deadly stampede in the Itaewon district during Halloween celebrations, in Seoul, on Oct 30, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

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