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

Legal

Marquette Transportation Reportedly for Sale

Marquette Transportation Company LLC, a U.S. towboat operator, is exploring a sale that could value it at more than $1 billion and has attracted the interest of

BP Quits Indonesian Blocks on Risk Concerns

UK-listed energy giant BP has decided to relinquish two exploration blocks to Indonesia, after a survey of the blocks found them to be high risk, the company said on Friday.

Yemen Lifts Force Majeure on LNG Deliveries

Yemen on Friday lifted force majeure on liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries from its Balhaf plant, trading sources with knowledge of the matter said. Reuters reported last week that the 6.

Passenger Vessels

Lerwick Harbor sees Positive Outlook

Lerwick's importance as a gateway for Shetland’s communities and industries is underlined by an increase in passenger traffic, cargo handled and fish landed in 2014.

Seabourn Names New Cruise Ships

Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will be the names of new ships joining the fleet of luxury cruise line Seabourn in late 2016 and spring 2018.  Both are part of the line's Odyssey class,

'World's First Hybrid Superyacht'

Developed by Dutch shipbuilders Feadship, the 83.5m Savannah is touted as the world's first hybrid super yacht. Vessel is 30% more fuel efficient than similar sized counterparts, claims the company.

Maritime Security

NASSCO to Christen Third MLP, Lewis B. Puller

Shipbuilder General Dynamics National Steel & Shipbuilding Co. – NASSCO – will christen the USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP 3 AFSB) Saturday, February 7, 2015 in San Diego.

BP Quits Indonesian Blocks on Risk Concerns

UK-listed energy giant BP has decided to relinquish two exploration blocks to Indonesia, after a survey of the blocks found them to be high risk, the company said on Friday.

Yemen Lifts Force Majeure on LNG Deliveries

Yemen on Friday lifted force majeure on liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries from its Balhaf plant, trading sources with knowledge of the matter said. Reuters reported last week that the 6.

Maritime Safety

USCG Updates Rules for Arrival/Departure Notices, AIS

Final rule on vessel requirements for Notices of Arrival and Departure and Automatic Identification System published in Federal Register   U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)

European Shipping Week Announces Speakers

Adam Goldstein, President and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Pierfrancesco Vago, Chairman of CLIA Europe and Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, and Paolo Tonon,

Yemen Lifts Force Majeure on LNG Deliveries

Yemen on Friday lifted force majeure on liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries from its Balhaf plant, trading sources with knowledge of the matter said. Reuters reported last week that the 6.

Government Update

Shippers Must Monitor Greek Government Changes

Moore Stephens says shipping must monitor developments in wake of Greek government change   International accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens says

USCG Updates Rules for Arrival/Departure Notices, AIS

Final rule on vessel requirements for Notices of Arrival and Departure and Automatic Identification System published in Federal Register   U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)

Europe's Offshore Wind Capacity Growing

New capacity edges down 5 pct from record 2013; industry body forecasts stable growth over 2015/6. Europe's offshore wind capacity kept up a steady rate of growth

Ferries

Maintenance Woes Led to Digby Ferry Grounding

Maintenance deficiencies and inadequate emergency procedures led to November 2013 grounding of Princess of Acadia in Digby, Nova Scotia    Maintenance deficiencies

Wärtsilä to Power LNG-fueled RoPax Ferry

A ferry being built for Sweden’s Rederi AB Gotland will be fueled by LNG, featuring a Wärtsilä integrated solution which includes a complete LNG powered propulsion- and fuel storage and supply system,

Shepler’s New Ferry Takes Shape

Sparks are flying on the bulkhead and engine room of the $3.8 million, 85-foot Miss Margy, the newest addition to the Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry fleet, at Moran Iron Works.

Insurance

A HERO on the Seas

The expansion of the Panama Canal has opened up an opportunity for WWL to develop its next generation RoRo carriers. Due to its importance to international trade,

ZIM Launches Monitoring and Tracking Service

ZIM integrated shipping services has announced the launching of a new monitoring, tracking and security services package, specifically designed for valuable and

Oil Tankers are Front Line of Libya's Struggles

Crew members killed in tanker attack this month; West fears worsening violence could lead to civil war. Oil shippers face higher costs and the possible loss of insurance cover on Libyan voyages,

P&I Clubs

Shell Eyes Arctic Drilling this Summer

Oil major Shell wants to revive its Arctic oil drilling programme this year after a near two-year suspension, angering environmentalists who say the risk of an oil spill is too high.

ZIM Launches Monitoring and Tracking Service

ZIM integrated shipping services has announced the launching of a new monitoring, tracking and security services package, specifically designed for valuable and

Oil Tankers are Front Line of Libya's Struggles

Crew members killed in tanker attack this month; West fears worsening violence could lead to civil war. Oil shippers face higher costs and the possible loss of insurance cover on Libyan voyages,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.5511 sec (2 req/sec)