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[Newsmaker] Seoul to install more security cameras at riverside parks after med student’s death

People are resting at Banpo Hangang Park by the Han River in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul, on Sunday. (Yonhap)
People are resting at Banpo Hangang Park by the Han River in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul, on Sunday. (Yonhap)
Seoul plans to spend 3.8 billion won ($3.4 million) to install more security cameras in 155 locations throughout its riverside parks in response to the death of a 21-year-old medical student late last month.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Tuesday that it was proposing a 4.24 trillion won supplementary budget on top of its 40.16 trillion won budget for this year to further assist those whose lives were damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and to improve the city’s infrastructure for better safety and living conditions.

If the proposed supplementary budget is approved, the city government plans to choose 155 locations at its 11 riverside parks deemed in need of improvement. It intends to install 40 “smart poles” with emergency bells and speakers to ensure a quick response from emergency services.

The city also plans to spend 1.2 billion won on 372 high-resolution security cameras within the city’s college zones to prevent crime. As of last year, Seoul was home to 38 universities with 499,754 students.

Increasing numbers of people have voiced the need for more security cameras within Seoul’s riverside parks since the death of 21-year-old medical student Sohn Jung-min. The lack of security cameras caused delays in the police investigation, they argued.

According to the city government, a total of 1,320 security cameras, 505 directly operated by the city, are installed along the Han River and 163 are in riverside parks.

Shortly after Sohn’s death came to light, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said the city would immediately work to invest more in the security infrastructure at riverside parks and in other vulnerable areas.

“I understand the concern of citizens asking for more (security cameras) within riverside parks,” Oh said in a Facebook post May 4. “I am reminded again that not a single inattention is allowed in safety.”

By Ko Jun-tae (