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Gwangju police chief vows thorough probe into balcony collapse

Jang Ha-yeon, commissioner of the Gwangju Metropolitan Police Agency, on Wednesday vowed to thoroughly investigate the collapse of a balcony inside a nightclub in Gwangju that killed two people and injured 25. 


“We will mobilize all the functions at the police agency to clearly investigate all the suspicions,” Jang said. “We are gathering intelligence to find out whether allegations of cozy ties between the police (and the club) are true.”

The balcony at the club next to the 18th FINA World Championships athletes’ village collapsed Saturday, leaving two Korean men dead and 25 others injured. The injured include eight foreign athletes competing at the championships and two students from Uzbekistan.

As part of the probe into the accident, police called in three co-owners of the club for questioning and booked two of them on charges of professional negligence.

Police increased the number of officers for the investigatory team from 59 to 70, with a plan to look into allegations the owners illegally expanded and modified the club without the city’s authorization, as well as links to drug use and organized crime.

Police sent samples they collected from the club to the National Forensic Service to find out whether Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, commonly known as a “club drug” or “date rape” drug, was used at the nightclub.

About 370 people were inside the club at the time of the accident.

By Ock Hyun-ju (