At least 156 people have died in the tragic Halloween stampede in a popular nightlife district of the South Korean capital Seoul. Most of the victims were in their 20s and there were more women among the dead than men. Domestic experts and legislators are urging the Ministry of the Interior to put forward safety management guidelines as soon as possible for large-scale gatherings without official event organizers.
South Korea's mask ban was lifted and people took to the streets to celebrate Halloween. Unexpectedly, a shoving incident broke out, killing 156 people. The stampede in Itaewon, South Korea shocked the world. Taiwan's current regulations only regulate the event organizers but should complement the safety management plan for large-scale events without organizers.
Chang Kuo-sung, Chair, Association of Emergency Medical Services at Mass Gatherings: “During the crowding period, there were more than 6 people per square meter. That's when the so-called fluid effect occurs. You have no way of deciding where you're going.”
Huang Kuo-shu, Legislator (Indep.): “The large-scale event safety management plan was only developed after the Formosa Fun Coast explosion incident. It's been 7 years now, but there still haven't been safety guidelines for events without official organizers.”
There have been large crowd-gathering accidents in Taiwan. On New Year's Eve in 2004, a large number of people flocked to the Taipei MRT. Five people were injured, and two people suffered lacerations to their scalps due to the escalator's high speed. Later in 2016, a similar accident occurred at New Taipei's Christmasland event. As crowds poured into the train station, it was suspected the escalator was overwhelmed and fell nearly three meters, causing people to fall and injure their heads. Relevant ministries said they would conduct a rolling review as soon as possible in response to legislators' call to put forward guidelines for safety management at large-scale gatherings without organizers.
Shen I-che, Senior Secretary, National Fire Agency: “Of course, there is no way to predict how many people there will be if there isn't an event organizer. There's no pre-planning for an evacuation place. We'll do some further research on this.”
Lin Hsin-hsiung, Chief, Public Order Div., National Police Agency: “For example, when it snows in Hehuan Mountain, the Ren-ai Precinct has an established interaction plan if there is a sudden crowd gathering like this.”
Experts and legislators have reminded the authorities that Christmas and New Year's Eve events will be celebrated at the end of the year. Using Itaewon's stampede as an example, it is particularly important to prevent crowding accidents in advance.