Police closing in on cause, culprits behind Pangyo deaths

Police closing in on cause, culprits behind Pangyo deaths
The collapsed ventilation shaft at Pangyo Techno Valley in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.

The police are looking into telephone and bank records of key officials connected to the Pangyo Techno Valley concert accident, it was revealed Tuesday.

On Oct. 17, grates covering a ventilation shaft for an underground parking lot collapsed, killing 16 and injuring 11 people who were watching a concert organised by the local business news provider Edaily in Pangyo Techno Valley in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.

According to the police, the phone, bank and credit card records of officials from Edaily, Gyeonggi Institute of Science and Technology Promotion and the event planner Plan Box are being analysed to determine financial transactions related to the event. The police are also said to be looking for a possible transfer of funds between the concerned officials.

It is expected that the police will book one or more of the six individuals issued with travel bans within the week. Early on in the investigation, six individuals who played central roles in planning the event, including the chief of Edaily TV, were banned from leaving the country.

The investigators are also reportedly planning to summon Edaily chairman Kwak Jae-seon for questioning to determine his accountability for the incident.

Kwak will be subjected to judicial action if it is determined that he was involved in the details of planning the event.

The National Forensics Service also conducted a test to determine the weight the grates were able to withstand. The investigators have so far revealed that the grates were lacking safety features such as binding wires, and that welding on the structure supporting the grates was faulty.

The last of the casualties' funeral ceremonies ended Tuesday.

Along with the victims' funerals, that of the Gyeonggi Institute of Science and Technology Promotion official identified by the surname Oh was also conducted on Tuesday. Oh killed himself on Saturday after he was questioned by the police as a witness in the case.

An estimated 400 million won (S$482,002) will be paid to the bereaved families for each of the victims who died in the accident.

Under the agreement reached between the families and the response team, which comprises of Gyeonggi Province and Seongnam city governments and Edaily, the victims are to take 40 per cent of the liability for the accident.

In addition to the compensation, which reflects the victims' estimated lifetime earnings, the victims' families will be provided with 25 million won for funeral expenses. An additional 5 million won will be paid to each of the families.

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