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Fugitive ferry owner unlikely to be overseas: minister

The fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol is unlikely to have made it overseas after being accused of responsibility in the ship‘s deadly sinking in April, the justice minister said Thursday.

Yoo Byung-eun, the 73-year-old owner of the ferry’s operator Chonghaejin Marine Co., is suspected of involvement in corrupt dealings that led to lax safety practices and ultimately the April 16 tragedy which left more than 300 people dead or missing.

He remains at large despite a massive manhunt across the country.

“Based on our search so far, we believe he hasn‘t made it abroad,” Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said at a meeting of the parliamentary legislative and judiciary committee. “We are conducting a thorough investigation on this premise.”

If, however, Yoo is spotted overseas, South Korea will capture the suspect through close cooperation with the country in question, the minister said.

He also ruled out suspicions that investigators are not capturing Yoo on purpose, saying he is doing his best for the honor of the prosecution and the country.

On reports that politicians may be implicated in Yoo’s case, Hwang said those stories have not been confirmed through investigative channels. (Yonhap)
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