All eyes are on how the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) will react to yet another death of a construction worker at the Lotte World Tower construction site.
Since the end of last year, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon has repeatedly said that he can reverse his decision and order the Lotte World Tower to suspend its business if one more accident occurs at its accident-prone construction site. Once again, a construction worker died on August 30, bringing the total death toll to four. He was knocked down by a truck on August 21 at the Lotte World Tower construction site.
Amid a string of accidents, from small mishaps to large-scale accidents involving fatalities, at the Lotte World Tower, Mayor Park has repeatedly said “Once one more accident has occurred, we can order them to suspend their business or withdraw our approval for the temporary opening of the skyscraper.”
In October 2014, the SMG gave the nod to the temporary opening of the lower part of the 123-story skyscraper on condition that Lotte would give priority to enhancing the safety of the construction site. And the SMG stressed that additional accidents could lead to cancelation of the SMG’s approval for temporary use, suspension of the construction work, or other use restrictions.
Later, cracks were found in the floor at the Lotte World Tower. Nearby residents held a press conference and denounced: “We call on the SMG to withdraw its approval for the temporary opening of the building. Disregarding residents’ growing worries, the SMG is working in the interests of the conglomerate.”
“For the sake of Seoul citizens’ safety, Mayor Park should keep his word. At that time, Mayor Park declared his “one-more-strike-you're-out” stance," the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) also said in December 2014.
As regards continued reports on Lotte World Tower accidents even after the temporary opening, Mayor Park told a local newspaper in January: “As of now, the lower part of the building is open. We can cancel our approval for the temporary opening of it if necessary.”
“If a safety problem arises, I will make the building off limit to the public, taking the risk of angering Lotte World Tower occupants,” he added.
“We will thoroughly conduct an on-site inspection and report our findings to our superiors, said an official from the SMG.