The prosecution has embarked an investigation into a sedan that is believed to have been used as a getaway car by Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, and some of his followers.
Investigators on Friday secured an EF Sonata, which was reportedly parked unoccupied at a lot in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province.
While the prosecution alleged the car’s license plate coincided with the earlier wanted car, it is looking into video from closed-circuit televisions on highways and other regional roads to verify the passengers.
Fingerprinting identification is also being carried out by a forensic science tem of the North Jeolla Provincial Police.
Aside from the Sonata sedan, a Bentley premium sedan is one of the few wanted lists by investigators in the hunt for business tycoon Yoo.
Following former intelligence that Yoo was hiding out in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, police recently received a tip-off that the fugitive and some of his followers had used the “partisan route” on Mount Jirisan as their path of escape to other regions.
Some observers again suggested that Yoo may have already fled abroad.
Meanwhile, the prosecution said that it has raided coffee shops and restaurants in southern Seoul to confiscate premium artwork owned by the Sewol ferry owner’s children.
A group of investigators was dispatched to several cafes and restaurants including the Monte Cristo in Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam district, which have been under management by fugitive Yoo’s oldest son Dae-gyun and oldest daughter Seom-na.
In law enforcement authorities’ efforts to prevent the Yoo family ― suspected of engaging in a variety of business irregularities ― from stashing away their property, the investigators seized some 100 high-priced fine works that were exhibited in the stores.
Their confiscation targets reportedly included some masterpieces of the late French sculptor Auguste Rodin.
The Incheon District Court a day earlier approved the prosecution’s request to freeze the assets held by the ill-fated Sewol owner and his three children.
The prosecution also said that Yoo Byung-eun’s close confidant Cho Pyung-soon refused to respond to a summons as of Friday. Cho was ordered again to appear on Saturday at the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office.
Cho is chief of a fishing village cooperative, and is thought to have managed the 73-year-old fugitive’s wealth through financial accounts under borrowed names.
He is also known to have led the management of several agricultural entities linked to the religious sect allegedly led by Yoo. The farming cooperatives are estimated to own land worth about 200 billion won ($190 million) across various parts of Korea.
By Kim Yon-se (email@example.com)