S.Korean dad seeks justice for Halloween crush victims
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STORY: A month after his daughter's death, Cho Gi-Dong's grief shows no sign of abating.
He has come to visit the urn containing the remains of his 24-year-old daughter Ye-jin, who died in a deadly crush in the Korean capital Seoul in October.
Cho has visited her almost every day since she was buried.
"I'm so sorry," he keeps saying.
Over 150 people died as revelers flooded the narrow streets of Itaewon's nightlife district to celebrate the first COVID-19 restriction-free Halloween celebrations in three years.
Ye-jin was with two friends that night who also lost their lives.
Cho works as a bus driver but is on leave after his daughter's death.
He says he can't sleep and feels helpless because he can't save his only child.
But his sadness has slowly turned to anger.
This is particularly the case after transcripts of several 911 calls emerged detailing the hours leading up to the accident.
They showed that citizens had repeatedly warned of the dangers and called for action.
The police response to these calls has faced severe public criticism and scrutiny.
And an investigation into the authorities' general handling of the swarm is underway.
South Korea's President, Minister of the Interior and Commissioner-General of the National Police have pledged to conduct a transparent investigation and take the necessary steps once it is complete.
Cho says he received guidance from the government on how to get funeral expenses and consolation money.
But he and the families of the other victims want more.
“We don't need money, we live well enough without this money. This is not the way to comfort us bereaved families. We can't live without my daughter. But instead of admitting their guilt and understanding the families, they simply bypass blaming others and avoiding responsibility. When I see such behavior, I get angry.”
Relatives want an apology from the government.
Lee Ju-hee belongs to a collective of human rights lawyers called Minbyun.
She says nearly 60 families have joined the campaign for justice.
"Before we talk about financial support or compensation, we now want to know the truth of the political and administrative tragedy - why our children had to die on the streets that we all along believed were safe."
Cho says apologizing and punishing those responsible would help calm his anger.
But it will never make up for the loss of his beloved daughter.
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