South Korea ferry disaster: Sewol operator owner Yoo Byung-un a fugitive over a month after ferry sank

Almost 300 people, mainly high-school students, died when the ship sank

Over a month after more than 300 people died when the Sewol ferry capsized and sank off the coast of South Korea, the government is offering over a quarter of a million pounds for information leading to the capture of the ferry company’s fugitive owner.

73-year-old Yoo Byung-un, the head of the family that controls the Chonghaejin Marine Company, is wanted on charges of professional negligence, embezzlement, and tax evasion.

The sum is a tenfold increase from the 50 million Won (£29,300) authorities had initially offered, and is the maximum amount allowed by criminal law as a reward for a fugitive.

“This is the largest amount ever offered by an investigative authority as reward,” said a prosecution official involved in the case.

The boost comes after Yoo failed to appear at the Incheon District Court on 20 May, according to Korea JoonAng Daily

Read more: Sewol Captain and crew charged with manslaughter
Civilian Sewol divers being ‘paid by the body’

Prosecutors claim that the Sewol ferry was structurally unsound after it was remodelled to increase its capacity, and was massively overloaded with cargo before it sank.

The investigating authorities believe that as its crew attempted to make a sharp turn, it failed to restore its balance, and capsized.

Nearly six weeks after the disaster, 288 bodies have been recovered and 16 people are missing. Most of the people on board were high school students.

The raise in the ransom sum came prior to the capture of the tycoon’s daughter, Yoo Somena, who was arrested on Tuesday at her home near the Champs-Elysees in Paris, according to French officers.

South Korean officials had issued an arrest warrant for the 47-year-old on suspicion that she was involved in embezzlement from 2004 to 2013, the officials said.

The authorities have also offered 100 million won for tips leading to the arrest of one of the sons. The other is believed to be in the United States. The trio have all allegedly evaded summons to appear for questioning and have arrest warrants outstanding.

Additional reporting by agencies

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Call Handler

£14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a Sales Ca...

Recruitment Genius: Registered Manager

£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This local charity has an oppor...

Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Content Curator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a mobile television network wi...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash