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Names, photos of crush victims should be made public, Lee Jae-myung argues

Names, photos of crush victims should be made public, Lee Jae-myung argues

Posted November. 12, 2022 07:13,   

Updated November. 12, 2022 07:13


Controversy over immorality has been stirred across the political arena since the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea’s leader Lee Jae-myung demanded that the identities of those victimized by a deadly crush in Itaewon, central Seoul, be publicly disclosed. Transition Korea’s lawmaker Cho Jung-hun harshly criticized the proposal as an “insane idea.”

Lee wrote on Friday in a Facebook post, “I think it’s time to speak out,” arguing that the morally right way to go is to mourn the losses by calling out the victims’ names in front of their funeral photos as desired by the bereaved families. “The ruling People Power Party (PPP) seems anxious about turning things around. It is the time that we should embrace the victims and their bereaved families with the power of social coalition,” he said. His remarks on Facebook came after the ruling party criticized Lee and some DP members for arguing that they needed the photos and memorial tablets with their names for sincere condolences, describing the proposal as a “manipulatively staged political show with outright immorality.”

In response, the PPP called on Lee not to satisfy his desires, with the country deeply grieving the death of many fellow citizens. PPP’s Floor Leader Joo Ho-young said on Facebook, “You should kick out of the habit of capitalizing on nationwide disasters and tragedies in your interests.” He called on Lee and the main opposition party to stop taking immoral measures and walk the morally right path that the party should take. PPP spokesperson Rep. Park Jung-ha also commented, “It seems that Lee is trying pathetically to keep himself armed against the risk of an indictment,” adding that he is the one who acts immorally to talk some bereaved families of the Itaewon victims into cooperating as desired politically by the party.

Other opposing parties did not take Lee’s side as well. Transition Korea Rep. Cho Jung-hun, a former member of the Platform Party, which is one of the DP’s satellite parties of proportionate representation, told YTN Radio on Friday that Lee’s request is an “insane idea,” pointing out that Lee seemingly tries hard to draw public attention to the Itaewon crush as there has been rapid progress made in the investigations of the Daejang-dong land development scandal. Justice Party’s leader Lee Jung-hee said in an interview with BBS Radio that it is not the right way for political circles to embark on a dispute to bring focus to issues.

Hoon-Sang Park tigermask@donga.com