South Korean Police Think They’ve Found Body of Owner of Sunken Ferry That Killed Hundreds

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 21 2014 8:00 PM

South Korean Police Think They’ve Found Body of Owner of Sunken Ferry That Killed Hundreds

Owner of Sewol ferry reportedly found dead.

Photo by Park Young-Chul-Donga Daily via Getty Images

South Korean police believe they have found the body of the owner the South Korean ferry that sank killing hundreds of schoolchildren in April. Billionaire businessman Yoo Byung-eun, owner of the ferry company involved in the horrific accident, disappeared shortly after the ferry sank leading to a massive manhunt as South Korean police investigated possible criminal negligence on Yoo’s part. Here’s more from the BBC:

Yonhap news agency reported that police found a heavily decomposed body last month in a plum field in Suncheon, a city 300 km (186 miles) south of Seoul. "We carried out a DNA test after finding a dead body in Suncheon, and the results fairly matched that of Yoo's brother," a police official was quoted as saying by Yonhap. "We need to look more closely into this, but the body is believed to be Yoo's," he added.

The April accident sparked a wave of public outrage at the ferry company owned by the Yoo family, as well as the South Korean government. South Korean police have targeted Yoo’s family as they try to determine whether criminal charges will be filed. Two trials are already underway—one for the captain and crew and the other for officials at the ferry operator. Here’s more from the BBC on the government’s efforts to chase down the family of ferry owners:

Mr Yoo was wanted for questioning on possible charges of embezzlement and criminal negligence, as prosecutors investigate whether the disaster was caused by mismanagement. Many of his family members have been arrested and his daughter, who lives in France, is currently fighting an extradition bid. His eldest son is still on the run. In June, some 6,000 police officers stormed a church complex in Anseong city belonging to Mr Yoo. Four church followers were detained on charges of assisting his escape and police said they were looking for several more who had helped the billionaire. Outside the church, supporters held up a large banner that read: "We'll protect Yoo Byung-eun even if 100,000 church members are all arrested."

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.


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