S Korea: Shaky high-rise shopping mall evacuated

The 39-storey TechnoMart mall has been ordered to be closed off for at least three days.

Seoul: Hundreds of people fled a high-rise shopping mall in the South Korean capital Seoul on Tuesday as it began shaking for unknown reasons, a local government spokesman said.

The Gwangjin district government later ordered the 39-storey TechnoMart mall in eastern Seoul to be closed off for at least three days, the spokesman said.

Hundreds of panicky people fled the building as it shook for about 10 minutes in the morning, witnesses said.

"The building was rocking up and down and I felt so dizzy that I almost vomited," Lee Ji-Soo, a woman who works on the 20th floor, told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper website.

Firefighters with six fire engines were sent to the scene and dozens of police cordoned off the building, as office workers and customers piled out.

The Gwangjin spokesman said the exact cause of the swaying was not immediately known and a safety inspection would immediately be carried out.

The mall accommodates hundreds of small shops selling electronics, houseware and books, as well as a multiplex cinema and a number of offices.

Sampoong Department Store in Seoul collapsed in 1995, killing more than 500 people. It was the largest peacetime disaster in South Korea.

Bureau Report

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