Brother of sunken SKorean ferry's 'owner' arrested

Investigators continue weeks-long search for fugitive Yoo Byung-eun after tragedy in April claimed hundreds of lives

Brother of sunken SKorean ferry's 'owner' arrested

World Bulletin/News Desk

The older brother of South Korea's most wanted fugitive was arrested Friday morning as police and prosecutors attempt to hone in on Yoo Byung-eun, described as the de facto owner of the ferry whose sinking on April 16 left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Yoo Byung-il, 75, was taken into custody shortly after 10:30 am near a religious compound south in Seoul that has been the focus of nationwide attention.

The Anseong retreat was raided by thousands of officers both Wednesday and Thursday as they searched for clues and even the possibility of secret underground passages in the massive grounds, which are around the size of 30 soccer fields.

Police have been stopping local cars and passers-by in their efforts to find 73-year-old Yoo Byung-eun, for whose whereabouts a nearly $500,000 reward has been offered.

The fugitive is a senior member of a religious sect based at the Anseong retreat, but investigators have been examining his alleged ownership of the Sewol ferry -- and whether corrupt practices could have resulted in the relaxation of safety regulations.

The arrest of his brother means authorities have now tracked down two members of the Yoo family. Last month, the fugitive's daughter Yoo Som-Na was detained for "fraud and embezzlement" in France thanks to the coordination of Interpol -- she was denied bail this week.

Her uncle, Yoo Byung-il, is set to be questioned on suspicion of embezzlement, while investigators revealed that he had been receiving a monthly income from Chonghaejin Marine -- the ill-fated Sewol ferry's operator.

In a separate development, the first relative of a victim of the ferry disaster has sued the state along with Chonghaejin Marine.

The mother of a student who was killed in the tragedy is understood to be seeking for nearly $30,000 in damages.

 

Last Mod: 13 Haziran 2014, 16:17
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