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Seoul vows 'smarter' system of surveillance after death of medical student

Seoul vows 'smarter' system of surveillance after death of medical student
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said the city will improve the security of riverside parks after the death of a medical student by the Han River. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE

May 4 (UPI) -- Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon pledged to install more surveillance cameras and sensors in public spaces in South Korea's capital after the death of a local medical student.

Oh said Tuesday on his Facebook page that the "new security system" will meet the demands of a "smart city" and would be in line with urban planning policies, the Dong-A Ilbo reported.

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Smart cities are tech-driven urban centers that use data and digital technologies to promote innovation. South Korea has pursued using digital technologies as part of urban planning for years to adapt to new advances in big data.

Oh said the municipality and the private sector operate 1,320 cameras to monitor parks and other spaces connected to the Han River. The student, Sohn Jung-min, disappeared at a riverside park April 25. His body was found in the river Friday.

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The mayor also said that more than 10 sites that make up the Han River parks only had 163 surveillance cameras, or a small fraction of the equipment monitoring the area.

"As someone who is in a position to take responsibility for the safety of citizens, I am cut to the heart" about Sohn's death, Oh said.

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Oh was elected mayor April 8. During his campaign, the opposition South Korean politician pledged to renew Seoul. Oh also claimed the city's infrastructure was outdated and neighborhoods were left neglected by his predecessor Park Won-soon.

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Park died as a former employee was preparing to press charges of sexual harassment. Investigations into Sohn's death are ongoing.

Local network JTBC reported Tuesday that police are analyzing a device believed to be Sohn's mobile phone. The phone was found in the possession of a friend who was the last person to be seen with him by the Han River.

Sohn's father told local media he cannot rule out the "actions of another person" in the death of his son.

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Sohn was a student at Chung-Ang University's School of Medicine, according to the Segye Ilbo.

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