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“绝对可以避免”?首尔梨泰院踩踏事件谁之过

Halloween Crowd Crush in Seoul Was ‘Absolutely Avoidable,’ Experts Say
“绝对可以避免”?首尔梨泰院踩踏事件谁之过

SEOUL — When the K-pop group BTS staged a show in South Korea that drew a crowd of 55,000, the police were ready, assigning 1,300 officers to keep people safe. And when political protests are held, however modest in size, the country’s police are famous for laying careful plans to make sure crowds do not get out of control.

首尔——当K-pop组合防弹少年团(BTS)在韩国举行一场吸引了5.5万名观众的演出时,韩国警方严阵以待,指派了1300名警察来保护人们的安全。民众举行政治抗议时,无论规模大小,韩国警方都以计划周详、确保人群不会失控而闻名。

But that did not happen Saturday night, when tens of thousands of boisterous young Koreans, freed at last of pandemic restrictions, surged into a Seoul nightlife neighborhood to celebrate Halloween. The police had assigned just 137 officers — and most of those were ordered not to direct the throngs of people but to look out for crimes like sexual harassment, theft and drug use.

但周六晚的情况并非如此,数万吵吵嚷嚷的韩国年轻人终于摆脱了疫情限制,涌入首尔一个夜生活区庆祝万圣节。警方只派了137名警察到场,其中大多数还被命令不要指挥人群,监督性骚扰、盗窃和吸毒等犯罪行为即可。
 

周一晚间,悼念者在一处临时吊唁处祭奠周六晚首尔踩踏事件中的遇难者。

By the next morning, the human cost of those decisions was clear: More than 150 people died in a narrow alleyway in Itaewon, the popular entertainment district in central Seoul where they had crammed in to enjoy an October evening out.

到次日一早,这些决策的人命代价已经明确了:超过150人死在梨泰院的一条狭窄小巷,这是首尔市中心人气颇高的娱乐区,也是这些人挤在一起享受这个10月夜晚的地方。

While government officials have been mostly tight-lipped about what went wrong in Itaewon on Saturday evening, saying only that they were caught off guard, many are already placing blame for one of the worst peacetime disasters in South Korea’s history on the failure to police the crowd, even as it became evident that things were getting out of control.

虽然政府官员大多对周六晚梨泰院出了什么问题守口如瓶,只说他们猝不及防,但许多人已将这场韩国和平时期最严重的灾难之一归咎于人群管理不力,尽管当时情况失控已经十分明显。

“This is clearly a man-made disaster,” said Park Ji-hyun, a leader of the opposition Democratic Party, in a Facebook post. “The government must take responsibility for failing to control the crowd, even when a bigger crowd was expected this year than last.”

“这显然是一场人为的灾难,”反对派共同民主党领袖朴志玹在Facebook上表示。“在今年的人群预计比去年更多的情况下,政府必须为未能控制住人群承担责任。”

The crowd issues that come with a pop performance, of course, are not the same as a party in the streets. Unlike the BTS concert, government officials point out, the gathering in Itaewon was spontaneous. There were no sponsors or organizers, who are required by law to discuss safety measures with the police when they host large events that need traffic and crowd control.

当然,流行音乐演出带来的拥挤问题与街头派对不可同日而语。政府有关人士指出,与BTS的演唱会不同,梨泰院的聚集是自发的。现场没有赞助商或组织方,根据法律规定,他们在举办需要控制交通和人群的大型活动时,必须与警方讨论安全措施。

But the police themselves knew a large crowd would gather, if not just how large it would become. In a news release on Thursday, the Yongsan police station, which oversees the neighborhood, said its top priority was to “secure citizens’ safety and order.”

但就算不清楚到底会有多少人,警方也应该知道会有一大群人聚集。在周四的一份通报中,负责监管该社区的龙山区警局表示,他们的首要任务是“确保市民的安全和秩序”。

But it appears they failed to take fundamental steps to prepare. Crowd control was a “parallel job,” not the main focus, said one police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is still underway.

然而他们似乎没有起码的准备。一名警员表示,控制人群拥挤是“并行任务”,而不是重点。由于调查仍在进行中,这名警员要求匿名。

Even on an ordinary weekend, the neighborhood attracts a crowd. But this promised to be no ordinary weekend, and while the investigation was still continuing, on Monday questions were being raised about why no police officers were in Itaewon to provide crowd control at a well-known choke point near a busy subway station exit and a tight alleyway known for its high foot traffic.

即便是普通周末,这个社区也会吸引许多人。而这当然不是普通周末,调查尽管仍在继续,但周一已有许多质疑,在梨泰院一处繁忙地铁站出口附近一个众所周知的拥堵点和一条以人流量大而闻名的拥挤小巷,为何没有警察控制拥堵。

As South Korea grappled to understand how a tragedy of this scale could have happened, no government agency seemed prepared to take full responsibility for the scores of people who were killed on one of the busiest nights of the year in Itaewon, though there were signs of division within the governing camp.

就在韩国民众无法理解为何会发生如此悲剧之际,面对梨泰院在一年中最热闹的夜晚之一发生如此惨痛的伤亡事件,似乎没有哪个政府部门打算承担全部责任,尽管执政阵营内部的意见有分裂迹象。

South Korea’s home minister, Lee Sang-min, said police forces were overextended throughout the city on Saturday to deal with large anti-government and other protest rallies, which have grown in recent months. But, he said, “I doubt that the problem in Itaewon could have been solved even if we dispatched police and firefighters in advance.”

韩国内政部长李祥敏表示,为了应对数月来不断扩大的大规模反政府和其他抗议聚会,周六全市警力都十分紧张。但他表示,“哪怕我们提前派遣了警力和消防人员,梨泰院的问题也很难得到解决。”

In a radio interview, Kim Gihyeon, a senior leader of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s governing People Power Party, said Mr. Lee should “watch his mouth,” and blamed the local police for failing to control the crowds.

尹锡悦总统所在的执政党国民力量党高层人物金起炫在接受电台采访时声称,李祥敏应该“注意他的言辞”,并指责当地警方未能控制住人群。

On Monday evening, the police were still interviewing witnesses and scrutinizing reams of security camera footage.

周一晚上,警方仍在询问目击者,并仔细审查大量监控录像。

They had expected a crowd of about 100,000 people each day during the Halloween weekend, but according to traffic data from the Seoul subway, 130,000 passengers used the station in Itaewon on Saturday, compared with 96,000 per day during the Halloween weekend in 2019 and 60,000 to 80,000 per day during the Halloween weekends during the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, only 85 officers were deployed.

警方曾预计,在万圣节周末每天会有大约10万人聚集,但根据首尔地铁的交通数据,周六有13万名乘客抵达梨泰院车站,而2019年的万圣节周末平均每天人流量为9.6万人次,新冠疫情期间的万圣节周末则为平均每天6万到8万人次。去年仅部署了85名警员。

Those eager to celebrate Halloween in Itaewon often travel to the neighborhood by subway to avoid the district’s infamous traffic jams. Subway Exit No. 1 disgorges hordes of passengers all at once. Many head straight to a nearby 10-foot-wide, 130-foot-long, sloping alleyway because it is a shortcut to the area’s hip bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

为了避开梨泰院臭名昭著的交通堵塞,想要在这里过万圣节的人通常会乘地铁前往。地铁站1号出口一下就挤满了大量乘客。许多人会直奔附近一条约3米宽、40米长的斜坡小巷,因为这是通往该地区时髦酒吧、餐厅和夜店的捷径。

On Saturday by around 10 p.m., hundreds of people, most of them in their 20s and 30s, were caught there, barely able to breathe or move and with no way to escape. On one side was a line of bars and shops already packed with people who were unable to make room. On the other was the tall wall of the Hamilton Hotel.

周六晚上10点左右,数百人被困在那里,大多是二三十岁的年轻人,他们几乎无法呼吸或移动,也没有办法逃脱。一边是一排酒吧和商店,已经挤满了挤不出地方的人。另一边是汉密尔顿饭店的高墙。

Waves of people pushed up and down the slope, jostling to go in opposite directions, while music blaring from bars and clubs drowned out cries for help from those who were suffocating.

一波又一波的人在斜坡上推来推去,争先恐后往相反的方向走,酒吧和俱乐部里响亮的音乐盖过了窒息者的呼救声。

Crowd control experts say the police and local officials should have identified the alleyway as a dangerous bottleneck and taken precautions, but neither the police, the city of Seoul nor the central government had a crowd control plan in place. And with Halloween in Itaewon having no official sponsor, there were no organizers present to direct traffic.

人群控制专家表示,警方和地方官员应该把这条小巷定为危险的瓶颈,并采取预防措施,但警方、首尔市和中央政府都没有制定人群控制计划。此外,由于梨泰院的万圣节活动没有正式赞助商,现场也没有指挥交通的组织者。

“Hazards that don’t cause trouble individually can get deadly when they come together at the same time, in the same place,” said Prof. Yoon Yong-Kyun, an expert in disaster prevention at Semyung University in South Korea. “That’s what happened around that alleyway in Itaewon​ on Saturday night​.”

“单独出现时不会造成问题的危险,如果在同一时间、同一地点聚集在一起,就可能造成致命后果,”韩国世明大学防灾专家尹永均(音)教授说。“这就是周六晚上梨泰院那条小巷发生的事情。”

It was a different scene when a government-sponsored food festival was held in Itaewon just weeks ago. The streets were blocked from vehicle traffic and a police line was established to direct pedestrians. No such measures were in place this past weekend for Halloween.

就在几周前,政府主办的美食节在梨泰院举行时,情况完全不同。街道上禁止车辆通行,并设立了警戒线引导行人。上周末的万圣节并没有采取这样的措施。

Disaster experts say the topography of Itaewon makes the neighborhood vulnerable to crowd problems. The part of Itaewon where the disaster happened was built when there was no city planning, and today, the hilly neighborhood is crisscrossed by narrow alleys lined with bars and restaurants.

灾难专家表示,梨泰院的地形使该地区容易出现人流问题。事故发生的梨泰院地区是在没有城市规划的情况下修建的,如今,这个高低起伏的街区纵横交错着狭窄小巷,两边布满了酒吧和餐馆。

The sloped alleyway that leads to Exit No. 1 of the subway station is often crowded, and on Saturday, costume vendors had set up shop, making pathways even more packed than usual.

通往地铁站1号出口的坡道小巷平时也往往很拥挤,周六,服装商贩也开张营业了,使得通道比平时更加拥挤。

Crowds like the one that gathered to celebrate Halloween can be “a blind spot in our public security, with no one taking responsibility for crowd control,” said Prof. Kong Hasung, a public disaster expert at Woosuk University in South Korea. Anticipating their size and knowing how to allocate resources can seem like guesswork.

韩国又石大学公共灾难专家孔夏成(音)教授说,聚集庆祝万圣节的人群可能是“我们公共安全的一个盲点,没有人负责人群控制”。预测人群规模和资源分配情况可能看起来像是猜测。

But witnesses said it appeared to be a problem not just of planning but of execution.

但目击者表示,这似乎不仅是计划问题,也是执行问题。

Survivors said they saw few officers trying to control the crowd around the alleyway as people pressed down the slope chanting, “Push! Push!” — causing those in front of them to topple “like dominoes.”

幸存者说,他们基本没看到有警察试图控制小巷周围的人群,人们高呼着“推!推!”从坡道上挤下来,导致前面的人“像多米诺骨牌一样”倒下。

​If the police find that people deliberately set off the crowd surge by instigating others to push, they may seek to bring criminal charges, said Prof. Yeom Gun Woong, a criminal law expert at U1 University’s Department of Police and Fire Administration. He said the victims could also try to sue for damages from the government for failing to prevent the disaster.

U1大学警察和消防管理系刑法专家廉建雄(音)教授表示,如果警方发现有人唆使他人推搡,故意引发人潮,可能会提出刑事指控。他说,受害者也可以尝试起诉政府未能阻止灾难发生,并要求赔偿损失。

Seo Na-yeon, 14, who visited Itaewon on Saturday evening, said that she called the police twice when she saw people being pushed, but that no help arrived, even though the government’s nearest fire department and first-response center was only about 660 feet from the alley.

14岁的徐娜妍(音)周六晚上来到梨泰院,她说,当她看到有人被推时,她报了两次警,但没有人来帮忙,尽管最近的政府消防部门和急救中心距离巷子只有大约200米远。

But, she said, she did see something else: police officers who appeared to be cracking down on street vendors hawking costumes and headbands, with none seeming to be managing the crowds. That was markedly different from the previous time she visited the area for Halloween in 2019, before the pandemic, when dozens of officers were directing people, she said.

她说,她倒是看到了别的:警察似乎在打击兜售装扮和头带的街头小贩,但没有人在管理人群。她说,这与她上一次在2019年万圣节时来这里的情况明显不同,那是在大流行之前,当时有数十名警察在引导人群。

On Monday, South Korea’s president said he would revamp the country’s safety system to empower the police to control crowds gathering without sponsors and organizers. Mr. Yoon also called for a thorough investigation to help prevent similar disasters.

周一,韩国总统表示将对安全系统进行改革,以授权警方在没有赞助商和组织者的情况下控制人群聚集。尹锡悦还呼吁进行彻底调查,从而防止类似的事故发生。

“When I think of those who died and their families, I feel an indescribable sadness and responsibility as the president who should be responsible for the safety of the people,” he said.

“当我想到那些死去的人和他们的家人时,我感到一种难以形容的悲伤,以及作为总统应该为人民的安全负责的责任,”他说。

Officials and organizers must learn to watch dense gatherings of people carefully, said Milad Haghani, a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney who researches crowd safety.

悉尼新南威尔士大学研究人群安全的高级讲师米拉德·哈加尼表示,官员和组织者必须学会仔细观察人群密集的聚集。

“I really believe that we need to learn from past events and use those experiences from the past to prevent incidents such as what happened in Seoul,” Mr. Haghani said by email. “This was absolutely avoidable.”

“我真的认为我们需要从过去的事件中吸取教训,并利用过去的经验来防止发生像首尔那样的事件,”哈加尼在电子邮件中说。“这是绝对可以避免的。”
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