Photo: Democratic Assembly Member U Sang-ho, chairman of the special investigative committee of the Itaewon Disaster, announces the adoption of the legislative report as the People Power Party legislator exited the room. Credit: Yonhap.
The People Power Party 국민의힘 boycotted the report of the National Assembly 국회’s Itaewon Disaster investigation committee, which recommended bringing charges against Yoon administration officials for perjury.
On January 17, the investigation committee concluded its investigation and issued its report, which was signed solely by the Democratic Party 민주당, Justice Party 정의당 and other minor opposition parties. The PPP walked out of the committee hearing, rejecting the Democratic Party’s suggestion that the ruling party issue a minority report.
The report recommended that the committee file a criminal complaint for perjury against seven Yoon administration officials, including Interior Minister Lee Sang-min 이상민 행정안전부 장관 and national police chief Yun Hee-geun 윤희근. PPP Assembly Member Jeon Ju-hye 전주혜 국민의힘 국회의원 attacked the report as as “a thinly veiled ploy to remove Minister Lee Sang-min.” Families of the disaster victims vigorously protested the PPP, with several fainting and subsequently being hospitalized.
Separately, the special investigation headquarters of the National Police Agency 경찰청 특별수사본부 concluded its investigation on January 13, and recommended that the Public Prosecutors’ Office 검찰청 indict 23 officials, including Yongsan-gu District chief Park Hee-yeong 박희영 용산구청장, Yongsan-gu District police chief Lee Im-jae 이임재 용산구 경찰서장 and Yongsan-gu District fire chief Choi Seong-beom 최성범 용산구 소방서장.
The indictment recommendation for Choi drew outrage, as the fire chief was the only public official present at the scene of the disaster to direct the rescue effort. The investigation also recommended against prosecuting Interior Minister Lee Sang-min, Seoul mayor O Se-hun 오세훈 서울시장 and National Police Agency chief Yun Hee-geun.