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Prosecutors raid offices of Korea Shipping Association

Updated: 2014-04-23 20:17:34 KST
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With the investigation into this tragic disaster widening and speeding up, more crew members now find themselves in custody.
For more, we now turn to our Laah Hyun-kyung standing by at the news center.
Hyun-kyung, what's the latest?

The special prosecutorial team is broadening the scope of its investigation.
Authorities are now looking for irregularities in the overall port operation business.
Offices of the Korea Shipping Association were raided in the afternoon.
And that came after the team raided some 10 offices and homes of the practical owner of the Sewol-ho ferry operator, Yoo Byung-eon, earlier in the day.
Prosecutors are closely looking into whether Yoo and his two sons, have made illegal overseas transactions, evaded taxes or embezzled funds.
Yoo's two sons are the biggest shareholders of the ferry operator's holding company.
The Yoo family reportedly owns assets worth more than 230 million dollars - excluding debt and assets kept outside of the country.
And since yesterday, the National Tax Service has been conducting a special probe into four firms closely related to Chonghaejin Marine Company.
Dozens of personnel, including Yoo and his two sons, are currently under a travel ban.

And some screenshots from the time of the accident show that the crew COULD have released some of the life floats?

Yes, and that's contrary to what one of the arrested crew members said yesterday.
Take a look.



"We tried but couldn't get near the life floats. We really did try but it was so slippery that we couldn't get there."

The pictures released show the crew members getting onto rescue boats, while a coast guard official is hanging tight onto the guardrail, trying to release the life floats.
And he succeeds. The official was able to kick two of the life floats into the sea.
There were more than 40 life floats on the Sewol-ho ferry.
And these pictures will likely cause people to ask even more 'what if' questions.
Also, the now-arrested crew members claimed the ship was listed 90 degrees when the crew was told to evacuate, but those pictures show that it was only listed about 50 degrees.

And we are just getting reports that investigators have charged crew members with homicide.

Yes, the police and the prosecution, that are jointly investigating the case say they've charged those taken into custody with negligent homicide.
Investigators believe the crew members had room to at least try to save the passengers.
11 out of the 15 crew members who all survived are now in custody.
Among those is the captain -- Captain Lee Joon-suk.
He is charged with five offenses including negligence of duty and violating ship crew law, which mandates the crew to secure the safety of all passengers in emergency situations.
Some of the crew have reportedly shown signs of regret -- admitting to their mistakes and saying, in hindsight, they should have taken rescue measures.

In the meantime, we are learning that North Korea has expressed condolences for the victims of the ferry.

Yes, South Korea's unification ministry says a telephone message was sent Wednesday afternoon by the chief of the Red Cross Society of North Korea and was addressed to the president of the South Korean Red Cross.
The message simply expressed its deep sorrow over the many victims of the ferry disaster.
The last time Pyongyang sent a similar official message was in 2003, when a mass fire at a subway in the city of Daegu resulted in some 3-hundred-70 casualties and also when a typhoon killed nearly 200 people.


Reporter : jlaah@arirang.co.kr

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