South Korean PM Han Duck-soo caught jaywalking while visiting Itaewon memorial, reported to police

Not the first time he was caught up in controversy.

Yen Zhi Yi | December 22, 2022, 02:26 PM

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South Korea Prime Minister Han Duck-soo was reported to the local police for jaywalking while he was visiting a memorial altar for victims of the Itaewon crowd crush, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Police report filed online

The police said the report was filed on Dec. 20 on the online petition website of government agency Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission. It was reportedly titled, "I report Prime Minister Han Duck-soo's violation of the Road Traffic Act."

Han was visiting a memorial altar set up to honour victims of the Itaewon crowd crush victims. The memorial altar was located near Noksapyeong Station on Seoul Metro Line 6, according to the Korea Times.

According to a video of Han's visit uploaded on a kakaoTV channel named "Sisain's channel", Han can be seen stopping before a crosswalk as the traffic light was red. As he was being questioned by reporters and YouTubers, Han proceeded to jaywalk to avoid them, Yonhap News reported.

A police official confirmed that a report was indeed filed via the petition site and that they plan to “check the details at a later time.”

Bereaved families' devastation

At the start of the video, Han was also seen being blocked by members of the public, presumably family members of victims of the Itaewon crowd crush. They were requesting an apology from the government.

Yonhap News reported that Han was later forced to take his leave due to protests from bereaved family members, even before he could pay tribute to the victims.

Screenshot via kakaoTV/Sisain's channel

Han's visit to the site was followed by the announcement of a parliamentary probe into the Itaewon tragedy on Dec. 20.

According to the Korea Times, a special investigative committee established by the National Assembly was launched on Dec. 21. Lawmakers from various political parties also visited the memorial altar.

Some protesters at the site, believed to be members of bereaved families, were reportedly shouting while sobbing, "What took you so long?"

On-site investigations of the Itaewon crowd crush have kicked off, according to a later report by Yonhap News.

PM under fire

Han has previously come under fire for making an insensitive comment about a high school student who was found dead on Dec. 12 in a suspected suicide after surviving the Itaewon crowd crush.

According to the Korea Times, Han told reporters on Dec. 14 that the incident was indeed heartbreaking, adding that “it would have been better if he had been a little stronger and had a stronger desire to receive treatment”.

His comments triggered a backlash due to his lack of empathy.

Han also attracted controversy for his “light-hearted behaviour” during a Nov. 1 press conference on the Itaewon incident, The Korea Herald reported.

He was initially unable to hear a reporter’s question, which was then repeated for him. Han then looked around before jokingly making a pun with the question while smiling, “What is the beginning and the end of someone who should take responsibility for (me) being unable to hear this?”

He later apologised for “making the people uncomfortable”.

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Top images via kakaoTV/Sinsain's channel