3 police officers being investigated for ignoring tips on ferry owner

By 정주원
  • Published : Aug 4, 2014 - 15:28
  • Updated : Aug 4, 2014 - 15:28
Police said Monday they are questioning three officers on suspicions that they ignored tips about the final hiding place of a fugitive tycoon wanted in connection with April's ferry disaster.

The three officers of the Suncheon Police Station, located in the southern city that's about 415 kilometers south of Seoul, are suspected of ignoring phone calls about a secret closet inside Yoo Byung-eun's vacation home in the city, according to the National Police Agency (NPA).

The police and the prosecution have come under fire for failing to locate the ferry owner's whereabouts during a massive manhunt that lasted for two months. They came under even more criticism after it was revealed that the 73-year-old billionaire was hiding inside the secret closet when they stormed the house on May 25.

On June 12, Yoo's body was found in an apricot orchard, about 2.5 km from the vacation home.

"We are probing three police officers to find out whether the Sucheon Police Station took appropriate measures after receiving phone calls from a citizen," said an NPA officer.

The 59-year-old citizen of Suncheon, only identified by his initial J, claimed in media interviews that he had made phone calls to the Suncheon Police Station and the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office in charge of investigating Yoo, and told them that there is a secret place inside Yoo's vacation home. 

Yoo had been the target of the country's largest manhunt after a court issued an arrest warrant for him in May on charges of embezzlement, breach of trust and tax evasion.

The Sewol ferry capsized off southwestern South Korea on April 16 after making a sharp turn. So far, 294 people have been found dead, with 10 missing and believed dead. (Yonhap)