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

Legal

US Navy to Roll out Underwater Spy Satellites

The robotic series that remade crusade in skies will shortly extend to a low sea, with underwater view “satellites,” drone-launching pods on a sea building and unmanned ships sport submarines,

Feds Delay LNG’s Port Ambrose Application

The US Coast Guard and the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) have temporarily suspended their review of the proposed Port Ambrose deep-water LNG import terminal.

Ukraine Arrests Turkish Ship for Visiting Crimean Port

Turkey owned merchant ship flying the flag of Tuvalu was arrested by Ukrainian authorities over a visit it made to a port in Crimea, reports Reuters. The ship's captain detained.

Navy

Vietnam's Submarines to Counter China?

Vietnam's new submarines could alter the balance in the South China Sea quite dramatically, say maritime security analysts.   Vietnam and China have long contested

India May Add Japanese Soryu-Class Submarines to its Fleet

India is reportedly considering a project to incorporate six Japanese Soryu-class diesel-electric submarines into its fleet, says The Japan Times.   The Defense

Is China Building a Naval Base in Africa?

Recently, The Namibian reported the existence of a "confidential letter from Namibia's ambassador to China, Ringo Abed, to Namibia's foreign minister stating that

Passenger Vessels

Washington State Ferry Tacoma Returns to Service

Washington State Ferry M/V Tacoma will return to work on the Seattle/Bainbridge Island route starting March 28 after suffering electrical damage last summer.   The

Holland America Line Ships Score 100

On recent routine United States Public Health inspections (USPHI) conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Holland America Line’s ms Statendam,

Carnival to Add Nine Ships to Cruise Fleet

Carnival Corporation enters into strategic partnerships to add nine cruise ships to its fleet over a four-year period starting in 2019; shipbuilders Fincantieri

Maritime Security

Vietnam's Submarines to Counter China?

Vietnam's new submarines could alter the balance in the South China Sea quite dramatically, say maritime security analysts.   Vietnam and China have long contested

US Navy to Roll out Underwater Spy Satellites

The robotic series that remade crusade in skies will shortly extend to a low sea, with underwater view “satellites,” drone-launching pods on a sea building and unmanned ships sport submarines,

India May Add Japanese Soryu-Class Submarines to its Fleet

India is reportedly considering a project to incorporate six Japanese Soryu-class diesel-electric submarines into its fleet, says The Japan Times.   The Defense

Coast Guard

USCG Flush Ice down River Systems to Facilitate Shipping

The Coast Guard cutter fleet is flushing ice through the Great Lakes river systems to prevent ice jams and facilitate commercial shipping as the shipping season

Mediterranean Rescue Operations Strain Shipping

The Wall Street Journal ran a story yesterday describing how the increasing number of seaborne migrants making the journey from Africa to Europe has not only

Greek Ferry Still Stuck

The Greek ferry that ran aground just outside of port on the Aegean Island of Kassos Wednesday night is still stuck. The 227 passengers and 55 crew aboard the

Maritime Safety

Vietnam's Submarines to Counter China?

Vietnam's new submarines could alter the balance in the South China Sea quite dramatically, say maritime security analysts.   Vietnam and China have long contested

Is China Building a Naval Base in Africa?

Recently, The Namibian reported the existence of a "confidential letter from Namibia's ambassador to China, Ringo Abed, to Namibia's foreign minister stating that

USCG Flush Ice down River Systems to Facilitate Shipping

The Coast Guard cutter fleet is flushing ice through the Great Lakes river systems to prevent ice jams and facilitate commercial shipping as the shipping season

Government Update

China Maritime Silk Road to Touch India for Namesake

Chinese officials on Saturday fleshed out some details for the country's ambitious 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) project in its “one belt, one road,” action plan.

Mexico Unveils National Strategy ahead of Paris Climate Talks

Mexico on Friday said it will cap its greenhouse gas emissions by 2026, becoming one of the first countries to formally submit its national climate plan the

Mediterranean Rescue Operations Strain Shipping

The Wall Street Journal ran a story yesterday describing how the increasing number of seaborne migrants making the journey from Africa to Europe has not only

Ferries

Washington State Ferry Tacoma Returns to Service

Washington State Ferry M/V Tacoma will return to work on the Seattle/Bainbridge Island route starting March 28 after suffering electrical damage last summer.   The

Greek Ferry Still Stuck

The Greek ferry that ran aground just outside of port on the Aegean Island of Kassos Wednesday night is still stuck. The 227 passengers and 55 crew aboard the

Greek Ferry Runs Aground in the Aegean

A Greek ferry ran aground on the Aegean island of Kassos overnight, the AP is reporting.      None of the 227 passengers and 55 crew were injured and a tug

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pipelines Port Authority Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
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: 0.2191 sec (5 req/sec)