Prosecutors enter religious compound in search of sunken ferry ownerUpdated: 2014-05-22 06:32:55 (KST)
Prosecutors and police finally made their way into the reglious compound in Anseong, Gyeonggi-do province at about noon on Wednesday, to execute an arrest warrant for Yoo Byung-eun, the practical owner of the Sewol-ho ferry operator.
Hundreds of members of Yoo's religious cult, who have been surrounding the estate for the past few days as human shields, allowed only investigating prosecutors in.
Investigators searching for the 73-year old Yoo inside the 230-thousand square-meter compound have seen no sign of him, and they suspect he may be hiding elsewhere, like at the home of one of his believers.
So they've begun zeroing in on the homes of Yoo's believers and are conducting undercover operations to find him.
Prosecutors are also trying to find evidence inside the compound in relation to criminal charges against the Yoo family, as they've been granted a search and seizure warrant.
Wednesday's operation came after Yoo had ignored previous orders by prosecutors to show up for questioning over embezzlement, tax evasion and malpractice charges.
The authorities believe there may be some causal link there, with the ferry operator's lack of investment in safety drills and personnel management.
Prosecutors are also trying to bring in Yoo Dae-gyun, the eldest son of Yoo Byung-eun, on charges of tax evasion and embezzlement of funds from company affiliates owned by the Yoo family.
He was last seen at Incheon International Airport buying a one-way ticket to France three days after the ferry accident happened last month, however as he was already banned from travel by the authorities, he didn't get on board a plane.
Since then, his whereabouts have been unknown.
Regarding Yoo's other children staying in foreign countries, who haven't responded to prosecutors' orders for questioning, the authorities are trying to get them extradited through cooperation with other countries.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.
Reporter : firstname.lastname@example.org