Halloween stampede: 22 foreign deaths, events cancelled

PHOTO: Khaosan Road (pictured during Songkran, bottom) will allow Halloween parties last night after Saturday's stampede in Seoul (pictured, top). (via BKK Post)

In the wake of the harrowing Halloween stampede in Korea’s capital city of Seoul, the death toll has risen with some sources claiming 153 fatalities. Officials in Korea and abroad are deciding whether to pull the plug on Halloween events tonight. Global leaders are offering condolences as international citizens’ deaths are confirmed, including that of a Thai student.


The president of the Khao San Road Business Association said that the Halloween Festival planned for tonight would go ahead as planned. But precautions are being stepped up, along with stricter crowd control measures. The association will meet with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to set safe maximum attendance levels.

Checkpoints will cap each end of the street, staffed by police and medical personnel. Police presence throughout will be increased, venues will be inspected, and fire exits will be ensured to be unlocked and clear for emergencies.

While Khao San is similar to Itaekon where the Seoul stampede took place in that they are both popular tourist and party areas that have been kneecapped by Covid for the last 2 Halloweens, Khao San has some key differences. The road is 50% wider than the 8-metre alleyways where the crush took place. And while they expect a big crowd, it is unlikely to be busier than peak Songkran events in the past that have hosted over 100,000 people.

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Meanwhile, in Korea, major events have been cancelled for fear of another devastating stampede. A 40,000-person K-Pop concert in Busan was axed, as well as the opening ceremony of one of the largest sales festivals. Government meetings have been called off too. And many major corporations have cancelled Halloween parties, parades, and even sales promotions. SM Entertainment, Samsung and Hotel Lotte all cancelled events, with Starbucks cutting Halloween promotions.


PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed his condolences after the tragic Halloween stampede in Seoul. President Yoon Suk-yeol of Korea has called for a period of national mourning and leaders from around the world have joined Prayut in sending thoughts and prayers.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has also sent a letter offering condolences to the families who lost loved ones as well as those injured. At least four Chinese nationals were killed in the crush, with many others injured. US President Joe Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden said they grieve with the people of Korea.

New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sent thoughts from the UK via Twitter. Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, also tweeted wishing a full recovery to all those injured. And Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt released a statement expressing devastation over the Halloween stampede.

One Norwegian citizen was confirmed killed, along with the four Chinese people, amid a total of 22 foreign nationals representing 13 countries who lost their lives in the crush. Besides Korea, citizens from Australia, Austria, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Norway, Russia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United States, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam were killed.


Among the victims, new details have emerged of the Thai national killed in the Halloween stampede. The victim has now been identified as a 27 year old woman who was studying in Korea, taking language classes. Bangkok Post reports that the Royal Thai Embassy in Seoul has already been in touch with the woman’s family. They will help make arrangements to transport her body back to Thailand.

Many Thai people were posting on Twitter looking for missing friends in the wake of the stampede. The phone number 02-2199-8660 is handling inquiries into people missing in the Halloween stampede. Korea is a popular destination for Thais on holiday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy have warned Thai travellers to avoid large events. The embassy offered 24-hour support at 010-6747-0095 or 010-3099-2955.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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