Updated: 07/26/2014 03:26 | By Agence France-Presse

S. Korea police arrest son of sunken ferry owner

South Korean police arrested Friday the fugitive son of a business tycoon who owned the Sewol ferry which sank in April with the loss of around 300 lives, officials said.


S. Korea police arrest son of sunken ferry owner

Police officers secure an area where family members of victims who were on board the capsized South Korean ferry Sewol are gathered at Jindo harbour on April 21, 2014 - by Nicolas Asfouri

Yoo Dae-Kyun, 44, was picked up in a southern suburb of Seoul just three days after his father Yoo Byung-Eun was confirmed dead.

His arrest is expected to boost the official investigation into whether mismanagement by the Yoo family contributed to the ferry disaster. 

Yoo Byung-Eun, 73, had been the target of an unprecedented, months-long manhunt involving tens of thousands of police officers and army troops.

His body was found on June 12, lying in a field just outside the city of Suncheon, 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Seoul.

At first, local police had no idea it was Yoo's body and a nation wide manhunt for the reclusive billionaire had continued for six weeks before DNA and fingerprint evidence revealed the corpse's identity.

State prosecutors had offered a $500,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. For the son, a reward of $100,000 has been offered.

Yoo Byung-Eun was the patriarch of the family that owned and operated the Sewol ferry which sank April 16 with the loss of around 300 lives -- mostly schoolchildren.

Yoo Byung-Eun's wife Kwon Yoon-Ja was arrested last month and their daughter Yoo Som-Na has been fighting an extradition bid in Paris.

Forensic experts said Friday they had been unable to determine the cause of Yoo Byung-Eun's death after examining his body.

The fact that the body was in a police morgue for six weeks while the manhunt was still under way triggered a storm of angry ridicule.

Two senior police officials and a top prosecutor in the case were both dismissed from their posts as a result.

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