Ferry disaster: Sewol owner's oldest son detained

Ferry disaster: Sewol owner's oldest son detained

The police said that investigators arrested Yoo Dae-kyun, the eldest son of the runaway Yoo Byung-eun, at a residence in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, at around 7 p.m. on Friday.

In addition, Park Soo-kyung, who was staying with Yoo Dae-kyun, has also been captured. Park is a daughter of Shin Myung-hee, who was a female confidante of Yoo Byung-eun.

Park had allegedly been accompanying Dae-kyun during his escape. Her mother Shin Myung-hee is known to be a key leader of the Salvation Sect, which was led by the Sewol owner Yoo Byung-eun, who was found dead by a farmer on June 12.

Investigators have recently carried out a full-fledged manhunt for the fugitive Dae-kyun in Ulsan and South Gyeongsang Province. But police seized him via a raid on an officetel in Yongin, a satellite city south of Seoul.

The residence is reportedly owned by a confidante, surnamed Ha, of Dae-kyun.

The senior Yoo and his son had been on the nation's most wanted list for about two months. The police had reinforced its investigative manpower in the Gyeongsang provinces after obtaining the intelligence The woman is believed to be Park Soo-kyung, 34, according to police officers. She had allegedly been accompanying Dae-kyun during his flight from the authorities after the April 16 sinking tragedy.

The Incheon District Prosecutors' Office -- which has been conducting an extraordinary probe into Yoo Byung-eun's family and aides in coordination with the police -- is likely to soon ask the court to issue warrants for the two suspects to take them into custody.

Key allegations include that the ferry owner and his three children -- Dae-kyun, the second son Hyuk-kee and the daughter Seom-na -- own stakes in Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the capsized Sewol, through shady cross-funding by exploiting dozens of sister firms.

Formerly, a group of investigators were dispatched to several cafes and restaurants including the Monte Cristo in Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, which have been under the management of Dae-kyun.

In efforts by law enforcement authorities to prevent the Yoo family -- suspected of engaging in a variety of business irregularities -- from stashing away their property, the investigators seized some 100 high-priced art works that were exhibited in the establishments.

Park Soo-kyung's mother Shin Myung-hee, 64, gave herself up to the prosecution on June 13 -- only one day after Yoo's body was discovered at a farm in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province.

Shin, who is suspected of having masterminded Yoo Byung-eun's escape, was taken into custody.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)

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