S. Korea ferry owner's children on Interpol's 'red notice' list

An official from the Incheon District Prosecutors' office carries a box during a raid of the home of Yoo Byung-eon, in Seoul April 23, 2014.

Following its announcement to offer a 50 million won (S$61,100) reward for the capture of Yoo Byung-eon, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, the police are now filing an Interpol red notice against two of Yoo's four children.

The "red notice," or internationally wanted persons alert, was issued for Yoo's second son Hyuk-gi, 42, and oldest daughter Som-na, 48, who have been refusing to respond to summons while reportedly staying overseas.

The same notice was filed against Kim Hye-kyung, the chief of Hankook Pharma, who is one of Yoo's close associates. The 52-year-old is also reportedly overseas.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry ordered Kim and Yoo's children to surrender their passports. Should the three not cooperate with the demands after the ministry's two initial courtesy requests, their passports will be automatically voided.

The prosecution failed to locate Yoo and his eldest son Dae-gyun in spite of its raid at a religious compound in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday. The following day, the police announced that it would offer a 50 million won reward for the capture of Yoo.

The reward money is the maximum for a wanted criminal in Korea. The first fugitive who was wanted for 50 million won was Shin Chang-won, the notorious criminal who escaped prison in 1997 and managed to evade the police for almost two years. The second was Yoo Young-chul, a serial killer who murdered 20 people ― mostly prostitutes ― from 2003 to 2004.

The police are also offering a 30 million won reward for the capture of Yoo's eldest son, Dae-gyun.

The Incheon District Court on Thursday issued a warrant to detain Yoo, a religious figure and entrepreneur who is believed to own Chonghaejin Marine Co., which operated the ill-fated ferry Sewol.

The sinking of the ferry last month left more than 300 dead or missing. It is suspected that Yoo's alleged corrupt deeds, such as illicit money transfers overseas, may have resulted in overlooking safety procedures that contributed to the Sewol disaster.

Along with the search for Yoo and his family, the police continues to investigate the cause of the sinking.

A joint task force of police and prosecutors said on Friday that it plans to indict Kim Han-sik, the chief executive of Chonghaejin Marine Co., as well as four other officials.