Yang Hoe-jeong, the former chauffeur of the deceased Yoo Byung-eun, raised questions about the death of the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, sparking a whirlwind of speculations.
During an interview with the current affairs weekly Sisa In, Yang, 55, repudiated a series of arguments about the cause of Yoo's death including suicide and hypothermia. The interview was carried out before Yang turned himself in to the police on Tuesday, a week after Yoo was confirmed dead.
"Considering that (Yoo) was wearing a winter jacket, which was waterproof, how could Yoo have died of hypothermia?" Yang said in the interview. "And he also used to say oftentimes that if you have the power to commit suicide, just live with that power."
As the National Forensic Service has failed to ascertain the cause of Yoo's death because of the level of decomposition, speculations over his death have been burgeoning. Some have even raised the allegations that the state investigators lied to the public about Yoo's death.
Yang also said that the clothes and a hat taken from the dead body did not appear to be what Yoo used to wear.
"He used to wear a tam-o'-shanter, not a soldier's hat like that. He also used to prefer bright-coloured clothes to dark ones," Yang said, adding that only the shoes from the dead body seemed to be Yoo's.
Regarding the fact that the body was found in a field in front of a village, Yang said, "It is unlikely that he went out there given his lifestyle and mindset."
To curb rumours about Yoo's death, the National Forensic Service said that based on the DNA tests of what investigators say is Yoo's body and that of Yoo's 44-year-old son Dae-gyun, it had confirmed a father-son relationship. Dae-gyun was arrested last Friday after hiding in a studio apartmentin Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.
Meanwhile, the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office questioned Yang for the second day primarily over whether he had helped the fugitive Yoo hide or knew what happened before Yoo died. Yang's surrender came after the law enforcement authorities said that they would investigate him without detention should he surrender by the end of this month.