Cause of S.Korea Ferry Businessman's Death Remains Unknown

Posted by Joseph Keefe
Friday, July 25, 2014

 Yoo's body too badly decomposed to determine cause of death; mystery surrounding final days of de-factor owner of doomed ferry deepens. Yoo's son arrested in latest capture of family members.

South Korea's forensic agency said on Friday it was impossible to determine the cause of death of a businessman linked to a ferry that sank and killed 304 people in April, deepening the mystery surrounding the final days of Korea's most wanted man.

An autopsy and DNA tests on the badly decomposed body of Yoo Byung-un revealed no evidence that he was poisoned, and there was also no indication of external trauma, forensic agency chief Seo Joong-seok told a news conference.

Yoo, 73, was found dead in an orchard on June 12 after eluding authorities for nearly two months in South Korea's biggest manhunt, hiding behind the wall of a rural cabin in the final days while it was being searched.

Police identified his body only this week, 40 days after a farmer reported its discovery at his orchard, stirring a storm of public anger with what many said was incompetent work to arrest Yoo over the ferry disaster.

"We are aware there are many questions and did our best, but it was impossible to determine the cause of death," said Lee Han-young, a senior official at the forensic agency.

"It is possible in some cases involving decomposed bodies to determine the cause of death but, in Yoo Byung-un's case, there was simply too much tissue damage so it was difficult to find leads that can determine the cause of death," he said.

The autopsy found no evidence of trauma from a weapon or strangulation, although there was heavy decomposition damage to the tissues in the head and neck, Lee said.

Yoo headed the family that owned the operator of the ferry, Sewol, which capsized and sank on April 16 on a routine journey. Many of those killed were children from the same school on a class trip.

The disaster triggered outrage across South Korea, especially when video footage emerged of crew members abandoning ship while the children stayed in their cabins as instructed.

The Sewol's 15 surviving crew members, including the captain, are on trial on charges ranging from negligence to homicide.

Yoo was wanted on charges of embezzlement, negligence and tax evasion but managed to elude authorities in what became a political headache for President Park Geun-hye, whose government came under heavy criticism for its handling of the disaster.

SON CAPTURED

Later on Friday, Yoo's elder son, Yoo Dae-gyun, who was also wanted on suspicion of embezzlement, was captured in an apartment near Seoul, prosecutors said. His capture follows the arrests of several other family members, including the senior Yoo's wife and brother.

Yoo Dae-gyun is one of two sons who co-owned the holding company at the centre of a network of business interests that included the ferry operator. But he was not believed to have been as actively involved in management as his younger brother, who is believed to be in the United States.

Kang Shin-mong, a forensic expert at the Catholic University of Korea's School of Medicine, said after the forensic agency's announcement it was possible Yoo died of hypothermia, citing his age and a history of diabetes.

Weather records showed temperatures in the region where his body was found dipped to 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) at night in late May and early June.

The failure by the national forensic agency to determine how Yoo died, and how his body arrived at the spot where it was found, is likely to add pressure on authorities to arrest two close associates accused of aiding his flight.

A senior prosecutor who headed the investigation resigned on Thursday, claiming responsibility for botched moves that allowed Yoo to remain at large for so long.

Three police officers, including the provincial chief of the region where his body was found, were sacked this week.

 

By Ju-min Park

Maritime Reporter May 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

DNV GL’s Synergi to Manage Siem Offshore Newbuilding Projects

Siem Offshore has chosen DNV GL’s Synergi Project to manage nine newbuilding projects. Synergi Project software The software is used to optimize the collaboration

Wärtsilä's' Propulsion for Use with US Compliant ELA

Wärtsilä has developed propulsion systems that are capable of operating with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) and comply with the US Vessel General Permit 2013 (VGP-2013).

Navy

Libyan War Plane Bombs another Tanker

A fighter jet operated by Libya's military force backed attacked an oil tanker that was about to anchor in the northern city of Sirte, reports local media.   Lt Gen.

US Navy Submarine to be Named USS New Jersey

The U.S. Navy's next Virginia-class attack submarine will bear the name USS New Jersey, says AP reports.   U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus hosted a ship-naming

USS George Washington Completes Carrier Qualifications

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) completed its carrier qualifications (CQ), May 23. CQ allows

Maritime Security

Libyan War Plane Bombs another Tanker

A fighter jet operated by Libya's military force backed attacked an oil tanker that was about to anchor in the northern city of Sirte, reports local media.   Lt Gen.

US Navy Submarine to be Named USS New Jersey

The U.S. Navy's next Virginia-class attack submarine will bear the name USS New Jersey, says AP reports.   U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus hosted a ship-naming

USS George Washington Completes Carrier Qualifications

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) completed its carrier qualifications (CQ), May 23. CQ allows

Casualties

Sea Urchin Haven Disturbed by Oil Spill

Stephanie Mutz makes a living plucking sea urchins from the Santa Barbara coast and selling the prickly treasure to upscale restaurants in Southern California.

5 Tunisian Migrants Die in Shipwreck

At least five Tunisian migrants died on Saturday when their boat sailing to Italy capsized off the Tunisian coast, officials said. "A migrant boat carrying

Oil-coated Pelicans Being cleaned at Rehab Center

Several petroleum-stained pelicans rescued from the blackened muck of California's latest oil spill spent the day on Friday being gently, painstakingly scrubbed

Coast Guard

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

Libyan War Plane Bombs another Tanker

A fighter jet operated by Libya's military force backed attacked an oil tanker that was about to anchor in the northern city of Sirte, reports local media.   Lt Gen.

5 Tunisian Migrants Die in Shipwreck

At least five Tunisian migrants died on Saturday when their boat sailing to Italy capsized off the Tunisian coast, officials said. "A migrant boat carrying

Maritime Safety

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

Wärtsilä's' Propulsion for Use with US Compliant ELA

Wärtsilä has developed propulsion systems that are capable of operating with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) and comply with the US Vessel General Permit 2013 (VGP-2013).

USS George Washington Completes Carrier Qualifications

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) completed its carrier qualifications (CQ), May 23. CQ allows

Government Update

Solarworld Wants Duties on Chinese Solar Goods in U.S. Extended

German solar manufacturer SolarWorld will apply to the United States for an extension of duties on Chinese panel imports that are due to end this year, weekly Euro am Sonntag said.

Alaska, Washington to build Arctic Icebreakers

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington, have introduced a bill that would authorize the Navy to build up six icebreakers for use by the U.

Launch of First Future Destroyer, Hobart

Speech delivered by the Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews during the launch of Hobart - the first future destroyer: Thank you for being here on this very important day.

 
 
Maritime Standards Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1254 sec (8 req/sec)