Detention warrant requested for Yoo’s brotherA special prosecution team on a manhunt for Yoo Byung-eun requested an Incheon court grant it a pretrial detention warrant yesterday for Yoo Byung-il, the fugitive’s older brother, two days after the sibling was arrested by police.
The special investigation team of the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office, which is tasked with getting to the bottom of the deadly Sewol ferry sinking that left nearly 300 dead, charged the 75-year-old older brother for breaking a real-name property transaction law while managing Yoo Byung-eun’s properties. Byung-il is also suspected of embezzling funds from Chonghaejin Marine Company, the Sewol operator. He is believed to have been involved in the management of Chonghaejin, given that he was paid 2.5 million won ($2,353) a month by the company for acting as an adviser.
The pre-detention warrant request came two days after Byung-il was arrested at the headquarters of the Evangelical Baptist Church in Anseong, Gyeonggi - better known as Guwonpa, or the Salvation Sect - which was co-founded by Byung-eun and his father-in-law in the 1960s. Police raided Geumsuwon, the Guwonpa compound, on Wednesday and Friday.
According to the police, officers found Yoo Byung-il while he was being driven to the compound.
Along with Yoo, the prosecution is also seeking a pretrial detention warrant for Shin Myeong-hee, known as Mother Shin, a female adherent of the sect, on charges that she helped Yoo evade arrest when he was fleeing from Geumsuwon.
Prosecutors believe Shin orchestrated an escape plan for Yoo, with another avid female follower of the sect named Kim Myeong-suk, 59, who is known as Mother Kim. Kim is currently on the run.
A pretrial detention warrant request for Shin came two days after she turned herself in to authorities in Suwon, Gyeonggi. According to the authorities, Shin decided to give herself up after seeing a number of fellow sect members arrested for their connections to the absconding family members of Yoo. Since her arrest Friday, the prosecution has been pressing Kim to discover the possible escape route and whereabouts of Yoo. Shin’s 34-year-old daughter, surnamed Park, has also been interrogated for helping the disgraced entrepreneur evade arrest.
Shin is also suspected of violating the real-name property transaction law by having nearly 200 apartments near Geumsuwon, which were purchased with Yoo Byung-eun’s assets, registered in her name. Those 200 apartment units were used as collective housing for Guwonpa believers, according to the authorities.
The Incheon District Court is scheduled to review the validity of the pretrial warrant requests for the two at 2 p.m.
BY NOH JIN-HO [firstname.lastname@example.org]