Go to contents

Firecrackers Ruin New Year’s Eve

Posted January. 02, 2008 07:15,   


Kim (21), a female university student, had an unpleasant, rather than special, experience when she and her boyfriend went to Boshingak in Jongno-gu to hear the chimes of the Boshingak Bell on New Year’s Eve.

This is because of the firecrackers that were set off in earnest around 11:30 pm. Some were hurt by firecrackers and some were injured as they tumbled when they tried to avoid being hit by the firecrackers. Kim complained, “I couldn’t stop coughing because of smoke from firecrackers. It is regrettable that my new year’s day started in a complete chaos where people bumped against each other and tumbled as they tried to avoid firecrackers.”

Twelve Injured by Firecrackers-

The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the fire department’s pledge to take a strong action to stop the use of private firecrackers around Boshingak on New Year’s Eve were nowhere close to having a real impact. Firecrackers set off at a close distance left many injured and citizens had to bear the uncomfortable situation.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the fire department briefed on January 1 that some of the crowds who gathered around Boshingak set off firecrackers almost simultaneously at around midnight, which left twelve injured.

An official from the fire department said, “The injured either had their faces or bodies directly hit by the firecrackers or fell over as they ran about in confusion with firecrackers going off.”

The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the fire department set up a briefing room on December 31 for the New Year’s ceremony at Jongno Tower and some other spots near Boshingak in a joint operation with the police. They announced that with 5,870 security forces in place, they would rigorously prevent sales and use of private firecrackers, and people from carrying them in.

Yet as firecrackers went off around 11:30 pm, security personnel didn’t know what to do. A police said, “We took away all the firecrackers that we found. Yet it was virtually impossible to check everyone for firecrackers and find those who set off firecrackers while about 100,000 people were crowded to enjoy the end of the year.”

The police and the fire department estimated that tens of thousands of firecrackers were set off near Boshingak on New Year’s Eve. Some tied several firecrackers with 50cm in length together which can be shot numerous times at one ignition.

Lucrative Business Day for Pickpockets-

Pickpockets were operating actively as people heard the chimes of the Boshingak Bell. The subway taskforce under the Seoul Supreme Prosecutor’s Office arrested Choi (39) and Kim (39) for pick-pocketing (aggravated larceny) on January 1.

The police reported that Choi was charged for stealing 210,000 won from Kim (20, female) as she watched the New Year’s Eve event on the street in front of Boshingak near Jonggak subway station exit 9 at around 10:15 pm on December 31. Kim (39) was charged to take 450,000 won away from a Japanese tourist’s pocket at the same place at around 12:05 am on January 1.

“We believe that more unreported pick-pocketing cases occurred. People may have been unaware of the theft or may have not reported to the police because of the amount of money stolen is not substantial,” said the police.