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Other Korean Cults & New Religious Movements => Other Korean Cults & New Religious Movements => Yoo Byung-eun & The Sewol Ferry Disaster => Topic started by: Peter on April 24, 2014, 02:51:00 AM

Title: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 24, 2014, 02:51:00 AM
Well, this came as a surprise. I read the following article earlier today, and to say my curiosity was piqued by the last sentence would be an understatement:

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2014/04/23/0200000000AEN20140423003400315.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2014/04/23/0200000000AEN20140423003400315.html)
Quote
Prosecutors raided offices of the ill-fated ferry Sewol's operator and its affiliates, as well as the residence of the firm's owner Wednesday as part of their probe into what caused the country's worst maritime disaster in 20 years.

Investigators raided the Cheonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ship Sewol, and the residence of its owner Yoo Byung-eun, a former chief of Semo Marine Co., as well as some 20 offices of its affiliates and religious groups believed to be related to the owner family in Seoul and the city of Incheon.
That led me to this Korea Times article (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2014/04/488_155884.html) which offers some creepy more details:
Quote
Financial regulators have launched a joint investigation with customs and tax officials into Chonghaejin Marine, the operator of the sunken ferry Sewol, and its owner family. The shipping firm’s majority stakeholder is Chonhaiji, a small shipbuilder controlled by I-One-I Holdings. Major shareholders of the holding firm include two sons of a 73-year-old mysterious businessman, Yoo Byung-eun....

He was also known as a pastor who led a Christian cult. He was sentenced to four years in prison in 1992 in connection with a mass suicide case, in which 32 followers of a different cult were found dead in a factory in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. The cult's leader, Park Soon-ja, had close ties with Yoo.
Million dollar questions at the moment are what cult did he/does he lead and what role did he play in: (http://articles.latimes.com/1987-08-30/news/mn-4994_1_cult)
Quote
Mass Murder in S. Korea May Be Tied to Cult, Swindle
The bound and gagged bodies of 33 people who were linked to a religious cult were found stacked in two piles in a factory attic Saturday after an apparent murder-suicide pact, authorities said. Police said the bodies were discovered in the attic of a factory cafeteria in Yongin, about 50 miles south of Seoul. Officers said the victims had been dead for up to two days.
Park Soon-ja made this list of top ten creepiest cult leaders, (http://www.smashinglists.com/top-10-creepiest-cult-leaders/) and that's no mean feat:
May 31, 2014: Updated link (What happened to the original link?) https://web.archive.org/web/20131021133405/http://www.smashinglists.com/top-10-creepiest-cult-leaders/ (https://web.archive.org/web/20131021133405/http://www.smashinglists.com/top-10-creepiest-cult-leaders/)
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One of the hallmarks of a cult leader is that they often take the role of parent to their followers – who have often been cut off from their own parents. Park Soon-ja, of the Paradise cult, was a prime example of this, as her disciples called her “Benevolent Mother”. She preached that the end of the world was nigh, but that she knew a way for her disciples to get to heaven without dying. She lived with her followers in her factory in Yongin, South Korea and they made Korean ornaments and toys for tourists. They rarely ventured out of the forest.

Trouble started brewing in 1987 in the form of a $8.7m fraud investigation, and on August 29th, Park Soon-ja, her 3 grown-up children, and 28 others were found dead inside the factory. They had been drugged and strangled in what appeared to be a mass suicide. And so ended the reign of Korea’s most notorious cult leader.
A little more courtesy of Pinterest: (https://www.pinterest.com/cpfrey1949/cults/)
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"Paradise" cult leader Park Soon-ja (Yongin, South Korea) preached that the world was corrupt and about to be destroyed. In August 1987, Park, her three adult children and 28 others were found dead in the factory by her husband. The bodies were in a pile, many with rope or cloths tied around their necks. The presence of bottles of drugs at the crime scene led police to believe that the cultists ingested the drugs before strangling each other. The last to die hanged himself.
Some more details here (Link Updated Feb. 2016) (http://web.archive.org/web/20150210110028/http://www.crimelibrary.com/photogallery/deadly-cults.html?curPhoto=7) and in the photos of the articles below:
Quote
Paradise cult leader Park Soon-ja, 48, called "Benevolent Mother" by her followers, preached that the world was corrupt and about to be destroyed, but that her followers could get to heaven without dying. She and her flock lived and worked in Park's factory, located in an isolated wooded area in Yongin, South Korea, (pictured on map) where they made ornate Korean chests, pottery and toys to sell to tourists. Park told her followers that she spoke for God and that He wanted them to give her all their possessions.

She came to the attention of law enforcement after two former cultists were beaten when they asked for their belongings back. In 1987 Park was under investigation by authorities for allegedly swindling $8.7 million from 220 of her followers. On August 29 Park, her three adult children and 28 others were found dead in the factory by her husband. The bodies were in a pile, many with rope or cloths tied around their necks. The presence of bottles of drugs at the crime scene led police to believe that the cultists ingested the drugs before strangling each other. The last to die hanged himself.
(http://jmscult.com/images/ahae/90s/suicide1.jpg)

(http://jmscult.com/images/ahae/90s/suicide2.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 24, 2014, 03:18:11 AM
Does this have anything to do with the sinking? Well, who knows at this stage, but if there is a cult behind the ferry company you would expect a very dysfunctional top-down management structure that isn't too concerned with things like safety. Whatever impact that had or didn't have on the procedures and operations of the Sewol, there is certainly one very shady character at the top of its food chain. I wonder what his first thoughts were upon hearing of the sinking.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 24, 2014, 03:41:43 AM
I guess this is old news... (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2988141)

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The owners, reported to be a 42-year-old surnamed Yoo and his brother have not responded at all to the ferry crisis. The two owners are sons of Yoo Byeong-eon, former CEO of the bankrupt Semo ferry cruise company, which operated boat trips on the Han River in Seoul until 1997.

Yoo Byeong-eon was an evangelical pastor in Korea and a member of a religious cult, making him a suspect in the cult’s 1987 mass suicide-murder.

On Aug. 29, 1987, the bound and gagged bodies of 33 people were found stacked in two piles in a factory in Yongin, Gyeonggi, about 50 miles south of Seoul, in what appeared to be a murder-suicide linked to the cult. It is still a mystery whether the 33 people committed suicide or were murdered.

Yoo was investigated by the authority as a possible head figure of the pseudo-Christian cult, and in 1992 he was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on fraud charges related to the mass murder-suicide incident....


According to the Financial Supervisory Service, Chonghaejin is owned by Chonhaiji, which specializes in producing container ships, oil tankers, bulk carriers and LNG ships. Chonhaiji is owned by I-ONE-I Holdings.

The largest shareholders of I-ONE-I Holdings are Yoo Dae-kyun, the eldest son of Chonghaejin’s former Chairman Yoo Byeong-eon, and Yoo Hyuk-ki, his second son, who together hold 19.44 percent of shares.

Kim Hye-kyung, a 6.29 percent shareholder, is the wife of Yoo Byeong-eon. There are seven affiliates under I-ONE-I Holdings, including Chonghaejin Marine Company and Chonhaiji.

And more here including a much larger number for the stake the brothers hold in I-One-I Holdings.... (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140421001183)
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They are brothers, surnamed Yoo, who have a combined 38.88 percent stake in I-One-I Holdings, a management consulting firm that is a part owner of Chonghaejin Marine Co.

Chonhaiji, a shipyard block assembler owned by I-One-I, is the biggest shareholder in the Sewol ferry operator with a 39.4 percent stake, followed by Chonghaejin Marine Co. president Kim Han-sik’s 11.6 percent and I-One-I’s 7.1 percent ownership, according to a regulatory audit filing.

The Yoo brothers, who have remained out of sight during the catastrophe, have been banned from traveling overseas as authorities expanded the scope of their investigations amid the public outcry against the ferry company and its key figures, including the captain and president Kim.

What is more interesting is that the Yoo brothers have been found to be the sons of Yoo Byeong-eon, who has been linked to an unsolved case involving loan sharking, a religious cult and a mass suicide in 1987.

Back then, the senior Yoo was a priest of an underground religious cult with close ties to former President Chun Doo-hwan, and ran a company that operated ferries on the Han River until it went bankrupt.

Yoo was one of prime suspects questioned over the 1987 incident when investigators uncovered more than 30 dead bodies of members of a religious cult, which he was affiliated with.


Investigators then pursued various leads to determine whether the case involved mass murder or suicide.

In the end, the case was left unsolved, and the elder Yoo was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of fraud that were traced back to loan sharking, which was then mostly part of unregulated business related to organized crime.

Now, his two sons, who had carried out the family business with lax safety measures, will be sitting under strong lighting for questioning, along with 40 other key figures, including Chonghaejin Marine Co. president Kim and crew members.

CNN mentioned Mr. Yoo and the growing pressure he is under (http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/23/world/asia/south-korea-ship-sinking/index.html) but made no mention of his conviction and links to the mass suicide/murder:
Quote
Investigators also searched offices of 20 organizations affiliated with Cheonghaejin Marine Co. as well as the home of Yoo Byung-eun, a billionaire whose family appears to control the company, according to the semiofficial Yonhap News Agency.

This Huffington Post piece mentions (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/south-korea-ferry-company_n_5191036.html) the fraud conviction but makes no mention of the cult:
Quote
Yoo was jailed for four years in the early 1990s, according to court proceedings at the time, for his role in colluding with one of his employees to defraud a group of people of 1.2 billion won ($1.15 million).

The 73-year-old is typical of the entrepreneurs who helped transform South Korea from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest in a generation, a process dubbed "The Miracle on the Han River" after the river that runs through the capital Seoul.

"Yoo had business skills. Once he took over a bankrupt textile company and then expanded it into toy exports. Later he even got a state award for strong export performance and further expanded into shipbuilding and ferry operation," said a source who had worked for Yoo for nearly a decade.

Yoo and his sons did not respond to requests for comment on the company's history. No one would go on the record to discuss the family or their business interests.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 25, 2014, 12:41:33 PM
Yoo's cult was finally named (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/04/24/15/0302000000AEN20140424005500315F.html) and apparently most of the crew are members. Geez, it doesn't get much weirder than this:

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Prosecutors said Thursday they are tracking a flow of money from a mysterious religious group to the operator of a capsized ferry, as part of their widening investigation into the cause of the deadly accident.

Prosecutors suspect that funds from members of the religious group, the Evangelical Baptist Church, were used in business operations of Cheonghaejin Marine Co. and Yoo Byung-eun, a billionaire man whose family appears to control the shipping company.

Nine days after the deadly sinking of the 6,825-ton ferry Sewol in southwestern waters, which is likely to be recorded as one of the country's worst maritime disasters, at least 171 passengers have been confirmed dead, with some 130 others still missing.

On Wednesday, investigators of the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office raided the head office of Cheonghaejin Marine, the Sewol's operator based in the coastal city of Incheon, just west of Seoul, and some 20 offices of its affiliates, as well as the office of the Evangelical Baptist Church in Yongsan, central Seoul.

Prosecutors said they are analyzing accounting books seized from the church, suspecting that the religious group has exercised influence over the company's management.

The church was established by chief Yoo's father-in-law, Kwon Sin-chan, in the 1960s and is led by Yoo. It is considered as a cult with some 20,000 followers, including most of the senior officials of Cheonghaejin's affiliates and most of the Sewol's crew.

Yoo was also previously a member of the religious cult called Odaeyang, making him a suspect in the cult's 1987 mass suicide-murder. More than 30 people from his group were found dead, bound and gagged in a factory outside of Seoul. Investigators, however, found no evidence tying the event to Yoo.

I just started looking for information about Kwon Sin-chan. A quick initial search didn't yield much except copies of the above article and a few older mentions on two sites that concern the Good News Baptists/IYF Korean cult (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?board=59.0). And I'm not entirely sure it's the same guy. The IYF cult could have just happened to have a senior pastor with the same name.

http://www.goodnews.or.kr/en/GoodNews/0408/Salvation.pdf (http://www.goodnews.or.kr/en/GoodNews/0408/Salvation.pdf)
(http://jmscult.com/images/ahae/founder.jpg)

And in the comments here: http://esfes1025.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/pure-evil/ (http://esfes1025.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/pure-evil/)
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“Gu won pa” was a derogatory name for a handful of evangelical gospel ministries in 1960′s Korea, which became very successful despite their independence from mainline denominations.

They were vilified and accused of being a cult because they rejected salvation through various forms of church-sanctioned sacramentalism, a stance that was a radical departure from the cultural norm at the time.

Instead the Salvationists championed genuine Christian conversions based on faith alone in Christ alone, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through scripture alone, rather than uninformed prayers and heartless creedalism.

Having learned under pastor Kwon Shin Chan, I now see that what lacked in his doctrine was the holiness/attributes of God, a more robust Christology, more emphasis on sanctification and less on eschatology. And he should have been less scathing to the mainliners. After all, without Christ’s salvation they will burn.

http://goodnewsmission.net/?p=632 (http://goodnewsmission.net/?p=632)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 25, 2014, 01:12:04 PM
More here: (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2988369&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Ctop)

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Following the financial regulators’ probe, up to 44 executives and shareholders of Chonghaejin Marine Company were banned from leaving the country on Tuesday, including CEO Kim Han-shik, who vanished from the public eye after a news conference last Thursday.

Prosecutors also vowed to verify whether the owner family and the operator are liable for compromising emergency preparedness and safety training for the ill-fated ferry.

The local media reported that the shipping company spent only 540,000 won last year to train its staff in safety measures.

Prosecutors are also looking into whether Yoo bribed high-ranking officials to conceal his companies’ unlawful practices. He is also accused of forcing members of a religious cult to buy shares of his companies. Also searched was a building in Yongsan District used by the cult. Yoo is reportedly the leader of a pseudo-Christian cult and is currently accused of forcing members of his cult to invest in companies run by him and his sons.

Prosecutors investigated Yoo in 1987 on suspicions that he was behind a mass suicide of 32 religious believers. At that time, he served as a minister of the cult.

Local media outlets also reported that many employees of the Yoo family’s companies and subsidiaries are members of the cult.

But prosecutors said the current investigation is not focused on Yoo’s role as a religious figure.

“We know that people are interested in the issue,” said a prosecutor at the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office. “But the focus is the company’s financial irregularities,” the prosecutor said.

And here, a rare photo... (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2988304&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Cnewslist1)

(http://jmscult.com/images/ahae/90s/yoo.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 25, 2014, 01:39:42 PM
Quote
The local media reported that the shipping company spent only 540,000 won last year to train its staff in safety measures.

That's about $US 500. I spent more than that last year at Starbucks.
 
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 25, 2014, 02:08:32 PM
Most detailed article about the cult to date (that I've read)..
http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140424001313&mod=skb (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140424001313&mod=skb)

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Amid a stepped-up probe into the sinking of the ferry Sewol, prosecutors have raided the Seoul headquarters of a religious group called the Salvation Sect, thought to be led by the true owner of the ill-fated ship.

Yoo Byeong-eon, a former chief of Semo Group, is believed to be leading the sect and presumed to be a veiled owner of Chonghaejin Marine, the much-criticized operator of the Sewol.

Prosecutors have been tracing Yoo’s financial assets in an apparent attempt to hold him responsible for the massive compensation for the victims of the ferry disaster and their families. Human error is being blamed for the sinking that left nearly 300 people dead or missing.

Along with Yoo, many senior employees of Chonghaejin Marine including the captain of the doomed ferry are devout members of the Salvation Sect. Investigators suspect that the sect is a financial foundation for Yoo and his business entities.

Reports said that Yoo began his businesses to help members of his religious group to gain jobs and to increase his personal wealth. He reportedly made business funds from church members’ offerings and investments, and took out loans with his church’s real estates being held as collateral.

The sect was established in the 1960s by Pastor Kwon Sin-chan, Yoo’s father-in-law. It has been divided into three offshoots including the Evangelical Baptist Church.

The sect has some 100 churches in Korea and about 200,000 members worldwide. Unlike other Christian organizations, the group is alleged to focus little on repentance ― a reason why it is seen as a heretical cult.

Speculation is rampant that loyal members of the sect have been engaged in a large pyramid sales scheme. Investigators have raided the headquarters of Dapanda, a multilayered marketing firm employing loyalists from the sect.

With nearly 60 branches across the country, Dapanda sells various items ranging from cosmetics to health food and kitchen products. The firm is thought to have thrived and secured stable marketing routes with backing from the sect’s devout members.

Dapanda's website: http://www.dapanda.co.kr/ (http://www.dapanda.co.kr/)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 25, 2014, 02:39:30 PM
The cult was actually mentioned (briefly) in a translation of a Korean article I asked the folks at Korea Beat for last month (before the sinking) about cults on Korean campuses: (http://www.koreabeat.com/2014/03/#.U1kvI1WSySo)

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There are three factions in the Salvation Church. They are the Kwon Shin-chan (deceased)-Yoo Byeong-Eon faction, the Lee Yo-han faction, and the Park Ock-soo faction. All of them have been officially classified as cults by the main denominations of Korean churches. These denominations include the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Hapdong) (2008/93rd assembly/cult), the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (1992/77th assembly/cult), the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Koshin) (1991/41st assembly/cult), the Korea Evangelical Holiness Church (1985, 40th assembly/false religion cult) and so forth.

The Park Ock-soo faction is the IYF group mentioned above.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 25, 2014, 03:06:46 PM
A longer article about the 1987 mass suicide/murder: (http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1987/33-Bodies-Found-In-Attic-After-Apparent-Murder-Suicide-Pact/id-ad93eedacb89524018ecbec4a1cf9f5c)

Quote
The bound and gagged bodies of 33 people who were linked to a religious cult were found stacked in two piles in a factory attic Saturday after an apparent murder-suicide pact, authorities said.

Police said the bodies were discovered in the attic of a factory cafeteria in Yongin, about 50 miles south of Seoul. Officers said the victims had been dead for up to two days.

''The investigation is still going on but there are suspicions that it was a religious incident,'' a local police officer told The Associated Press by telephone. The tourist souvenir factory was owned by Park Soon-ja, 48, the cult leader who was called ''Benevolent Mother'' by her followers, authorities said. Mrs. Park claimed God appeared to her and told her to seek followers, they said.

The sect claimed to be Christian and preached that the world was about to come to an end. It demanded extreme spiritual discipline and blind obedience, police said.

Some Korean news reports said Mrs. Park and her three children were among the dead, but authorities would not confirm the report. Mrs. Park disappeared last Wednesday after police began investigating accusations that she swindled $8.7 million from about 220 people, many of them apparently involved in the cult.

Heavily armed police surrounded the factory as officers and forensic experts examined the bodies and the factory complex for evidence. The bodies were discovered by Mrs. Park's husband, Lee Ki-Jung, some news reports said.

The hands and feet of most of the dead were tied together and cloth or rope was tied around their necks, police said. Tissue paper and cloth were stuffed into many of the victims' nostrils and mouths.

Police said the bodies were stacked atop the other in two large piles - 14 bodies in one, 19 bodies in the other. Many of the victims were scantily clothed in underwear or pyjamas.

Korean television networks reported from the scene that many of the dead appeared to have been strangled or poisoned and their necks were badly bruised. The MBC network reported that one person wearing rubber gloves strangled or poisoned the others then killed himself or herself. It said the victims appeared not to have resisted, adding that rubber gloves and drug bottles were found near the bodies.

KBS, the state television network, said 29 women and four men died. Other reports said the dead included children.
Police said a maid at the factory told them that Mrs. Park had been hiding in the attic since Wednesday. The maid said she had been taking food to Mrs. Park once a day and last saw her Friday.

Mrs. Park ran a charity for orphans, homeless elderly people and the poor in the central Korean city of Taejon.

Korean news reports indicated Mrs. Park and aides indoctrinated charity recipients into the cult. Some reports suggested poor people and children were used as laborers in the Yongin factory, which made ornate traditional Korean furniture for sale to foreign tourists. Many cult followers appeared to have loaned Mrs. Park large sums of money, the reports added.

Police began investigating the cult Aug. 16, following reports that two people were beaten by Mrs. Park's followers after demanding their money be returned, officials said.

Thirteen officials of Mrs. Park's Odaeyang Trading Co. were arrested in connection with the beatings and remain in custody, police said. After the arrests other people started to complain about being unable to get back their money, they said.

Police said Mrs. Park and about 80 followers fled Taejon when police started to investigate the allegations. Officers said they searched the factory Friday and found 49 men, women and children hiding there, but not the cult leader and her top aides.

Mrs. Park, who claimed God cured her of cancer, was a prominent member of the city elite and was involved in numerous social activities. She received many citations for charitable work, including awards from the government, according to news reports. Her husband is a senior provincial government official.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 25, 2014, 03:10:39 PM
And another new mention in this Business Korea article: (http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/article/4253/sunken-ferry-owner%E2%80%99s-malpractice-chonghaejin-marine-company-under-suspicion-offshore)

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The former CEO is one of the masterminds of the Odaeyang scandal that broke out back in 1987, in which 32 cult members committed collective suicide. At that time, he was under suspicion of leading the cult and accumulating huge personal debts. The prosecutors’ office failed to prove the former, and he was jailed for only four years. The scandal led to the bankruptcy of the Semo Group in 1997, and people became less and less interested in his family and company before the recent sinking of the Sewol ferry.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 12:08:45 AM
CNN has some interesting new details (http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/24/world/asia/south-korea-ship-sinking-yoo/) about Mr. Yoo that makes him sound like Korea's answer to L. Ron Hubbard. And the video in that link shows footage of Mr Yoo last year and around the time of the mass suicide/murder. Particularly interesting is the footage of him at the time surrounded by minders/body guards. I've yet to encounter a Korean messiah who does't have a security entourage.

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He's known as "the millionaire with no face." And South Korean officials apparently have questions for him...
More recently, South Korean media accounts have identified him as a photographer and artist who goes by the name "Ahae."

A biography on the site describes Ahae as the chairman of 123 Farm, an organic lavender farm on the grounds of the Highland Springs Resort in California. A 2006 Los Angeles Times article names Yoo as chairman of the board of a South Korean company that owns the resort.

The biography also describes Ahae as an entrepreneur who once designed ships that traveled the Han River.
True to Yoo's nickname, Ahae doesn't show his face on the website. He only appears from behind, photographing nature scenes in his trademark style -- out an open window of his South Korean studio.

According the website bio, Ahae was born in 1941 in Japan, where his family was during Japanese colonial rule of Korea. That would make him 72 or 73. The biography describes Ahae as "an inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, environmental activist, martial artist, painter, sculptor, poet, and photographer."

He also has an interest in farming. In addition to the California lavender farm, Ahae supervises two organic tea plantations in South Korea, according to the bio.

"Ahae has been a conservationist all his life and has done everything within his power to ensure that his business activities do not conflict with his endeavors to maintain the purity of the natural world," the biography reads. "His focus on organic products is a natural extension of his concern for the environment, and the individual in particular."
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 12:19:04 AM
Time Magazine  (http://time.com/74967/south-korea-ferry-sewol-chonghaejin-investigation/)offers a little more about the pocket change the company spent on crew training last year:
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According to Chonghaejin’s audit report for last year, the company spent just $521 on crew training, including evacuation drills. By comparison, a competitor, Daea Express Shipping, spent 20 times that amount.
Although 20 times $500 doesn't sound like much either^^.


Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 12:34:51 AM
I think this is worth saving (http://ahae.com/introduction/). Something tells me it won't be around much longer.
Update, May 19: I was right, it's gone  ;)
Update June 3: It's surprisingly back online, but the press section doesn't include any of the dozens of recent articles about Yoo/AHAE ;)

Quote
AN INTRODUCTION TO AHAE AND HIS PHOTOGRAPHY

THE PHOTOGRAPHER AHAE
It is the natural world in all its vibrant purity that breathes through the artworks of the Korean photographer Ahae. In his attempt to capture the passing of time and the beauty of his surroundings, Ahae has produced a strong message regarding the responsibility we have towards the world in which we live. His photographs explore the natural environment, which he has worked to protect since the 1970s. He can be described as an inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, environmental activist, martial artist, painter, sculptor, poet, and photographer. Ahae’s name is linked with international organic farming and nature conservation projects, and his photographic works became a logical progression from his focus on nature and how we perceive it.

Ahae’s life began in 1941 in Kyoto, Japan, where his family had been relocated during the period of Japanese colonial rule, but he returned to his homeland on the South Korean Peninsula at the end of the Second World War, and it is there that he has spent most of his life.

Ahae’s creative talent manifested itself from an early age. This coupled with his insatiable interest in the world around him—both close at hand and far away—drew him into ever-widening realms of activity and ideas. Beginning with drawing and painting, he soon set his hand to sculpting in general and he even became a master in the art of mask making. His artistic inclinations also took him in the direction of the arts of the martial kind. This led to a life-long affinity with such disciplines. He holds a seventh degree black belt in Taekwondo, is highly trained in Judo, and he has even developed his own style of exercise and self-defense. Ahae worked in the field of broadcasting in his twenties and early thirties. By his mid-thirties, however, he had begun to apply his creative talents to the business world, founding his first enterprise at the age of 35.

With such a broad spectrum of interests, he designed and invented a wide range of unique products, including various household items; numerous health-related products; and various boats and small ocean-going ships that now plough the waters of the Han River in Seoul and further afield. In the course of his career, Ahae has registered and owned over one thousand patents and trademarks and he has received several internationally recognized awards for his inventions. Ahae has been a conservationist all his life and has done everything within his power to ensure that his business activities do not conflict with his endeavors to maintain the purity of the natural world. His focus on organic products is a natural extension of his concern for the environment, and the individual in particular.

In the past two decades, Ahae has sought out suitable land upon which to put into practice his organic lifestyle concept, focusing on the interconnection between nature protection, organic farming, and healthy blood—this being the key to a healthy body. Just as in his photographs, Ahae depicts the natural world as it is, in his farming activities, he does all that is possible to allow nature to live as it was intended to live, without the interference of man and man-made additives of any kind. Two organic tea plantations under Ahae’s supervision in South Korea now have USDA 100% organic certification, as does 123 Farm—the largest organic lavender farm in Southern California—of which Ahae was chairman of the board of directors.

AHAE'S PHOTOGRAPHY

It was during the 1970s that Ahae first became active in the photographic field; he started collecting cameras and taking photographs, and this continued through the 80s. In those years, however, time and other commitments would not allow him to pursue this art form with the intensity that he desired. He was forced to apply his hand elsewhere and had to wait a couple of decades before he was able to take up his camera once more.
Note: I imagine that's a vague reference to his time in the mass suicide/murder cult and his subsequent jail time.

By that time, the field of photography had developed to such a tremendous extent technologically that he was able to grant his artistic qualities their full free range.

Recently, in the course of four years, Ahae took more than 2.6 million photographs—all from just one window of his studio—recording the countless episodes that took place within his view amongst the creatures with whom we share our planet. It was selections from these photographs that were on display at the first Through My Window exhibition at Grand Central Terminal in spring, 2011.

During these four years Ahae was to be found at his window every day, come rain or shine, recording every natural feature and scene that catches his eye. Most of these episodes go unnoticed. Ahae not only sees them, but through his art, he attempts to bring them to the view of the rest of the world. Scenes pastoral and comic, dramatic and tragic, dynamic and serene, enchanting and breathtakingly beautiful are captured through his lens.

With the artist’s eye for light, color and detail, Ahae captures landscapes and wildlife in all four seasons; moments in time that may never occur again. He draws us into the natural scene with all its intimate moments and then allows us to stand back and bathe in the serenity of the whole. Ahae takes us from morning’s first light to the day’s last glimmer, through spring, summer, autumn, winter, through all the mood swings of the seasons as they change, and through the movements of the sun and the moon.

Not wishing to disturb the natural scene on his studio set beyond his window, Ahae does not even permit himself the luxury of air-conditioning in the hot and humid Korean summer. His open window exposes him to the bitter cold and winds of winter and the burning hot sun and mosquitoes of the warmer months. Each shot is taken individually, he seldom uses a tripod, even when handling the largest of cameras with the longest of lenses, and he never uses any artificial lighting.

The result is an “organic” image of the changing scenes of nature outside Ahae’s window in photographs that present very direct and frank views, revealed through natural light.

Since Ahae takes an average of 2,000 to 4,000 photographs every day, it has become necessary to establish a photo-processing station to facilitate the archiving of the constant flood of photographs. This is operated by Ahae Press, Inc. During processing, in keeping with Ahae’s philosophy of maintaining natural integrity, there is absolutely no manipulation of photographs, such as colour alteration, cutting and pasting, combining of photographs, or introduction of foreign elements into the images; only clean-up of photographs (aligning, spot-removing, and minor contrast and light correction) is allowed before the final works are printed.

Ahae’s collection of cameras has increased over time so that he now uses a wide range of equipment, including the highest quality 35mm and medium format cameras and all the different sizes of lenses available on the market, including some very rare collectors’ items. All of the Through My Window collection of photographs were taken using state-of-the-art digital cameras. Top-of-the-line, long-range telephoto lenses were used for most of the animal images in the collection, while a variety of medium format cameras were used for the scenery shots.

The amazing accomplishment of producing one million photographs in two years through just one window has never before been attempted, let alone carried out. The additional fact that Ahae’s photography involves no artificial lighting, no staging, and no manipulation during editing underlines the unique nature of this project, making it all the more vital that these photographic works should be brought to the public eye.

In a recent interview, Professor Milan Knížák, former General Director of the National Gallery in Prague, said that “all the photographs of today have some social meanings and they are over sophisticated” and that “to meet [Ahae’s photographs] was like a miracle…so simple, so beautiful and so perfect.” As an artist, Ahae puts great emphasis on honesty and simplicity: characteristics that are sadly disappearing from today’s art world. Photographic works such as Ahae constantly produces are oftentimes dismissed as “ordinary”.

It should be understood, however, that it is actually very difficult to capture such natural beauty without the application of artificial or synthetic elements.
This is the case when it comes to all forms of modern art and music. It is becoming more and more difficult to find “true” artists who have both the skills and creative talent needed to produce works that are new, demonstrate technical excellence, and hold deep significance. People no longer understand the importance of fine art; indeed its very definition is becoming more and more vague as the simple natural beauty of the world around us is buried deeper and deeper under the mountain of an ever-growing civilization characterized by many aspects that are artificial and man-made.

Ahae’s aim is not just to produce wonderful photographs; he also wants to open everyone’s eyes to be able to see the wealth of life that is right there beside them if they just look out of the window. Capturing, as he does, the passing of time and the beauty of the nature surrounding him, the message Ahae broadcasts to the world as he exhibits his photographs comes through loud and clear: open your eyes, see the amazing and very precious natural world around you, and do whatever you can to protect it before it is too late. Ahae wishes to make people aware of their immediate surroundings. Today, there are many voices that cry out for awareness in regard to global warming and other environmental issues, but such matters are very difficult for individuals to embrace in their daily lives.

For many years, Ahae has been cultivating and protecting the scene that meets his eye when he looks out from his studio window. As a result of his dedication to the protection of his natural surroundings, he has been able to photograph over twenty percent of all the birds that visit the Korean Peninsula. Deer and other animals also run around freely on this small stretch of land where the changes in season are reflected in a kaleidoscope of colors and even the weeds can radiate their natural beauty against a sky of resplendent light. Ahae has always sought to lead by example, this being another case in point. If we look around at our surroundings, we, too, can discover much of our natural heritage that is worth protecting and nourishing.

Ahae’s photographs that show the changing seasons and dynamic sky are especially meaningful. Nature has a resilience beyond any human comprehension. After a long, cold winter during which everything appears to be dead, nature is able to fill the world with an unimaginable and incomprehensible abundance of life, not just once, but over and over again as year follows year. We, on the other hand, experience our physical condition growing ever weaker as the years pass and we grow older. Nevertheless, the life force in the natural world surrounding us gives us a great sense of hope. In just one patch of sky within Ahae’s view from his window, countless different scenes are played out and captured with the click of a button on the photographer’s camera. Momentary impressions of sunlight, moonlight, and clouds create images the beauty of which cannot be described adequately in words.

2.6 million photographs through one window in four years. Or is it just four years? Ahae’s collection that is now being brought to the public is actually the result of a life time of observation and endeavor. Through these photographic works we see not only the artist, but also the naturalist and conservationist, and above all we see a man who sees life, and a man who wants us to see that life as well.
Ahae Press Editing Department
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 12:37:47 AM
Quote
Recently, in the course of four years, Ahae took more than 2.6 million photographs...During these four years Ahae was to be found at his window every day, come rain or shine, recording every natural feature and scene that catches his eye...
That's roughly a photo a minute for four years...all taken from his bedroom. :o
Quote
Since Ahae takes an average of 2,000 to 4,000 photographs every day
2,000 photos a day for four years is closer to 3 million photographs. 3,000 a day (the average of the two figures) amounts to 4.4 million.
2,000 a day is 83 per hour. More if we assume this super hero photographer needs to sleep.
3,000 a day is 125 per hour. 4,000 a day is 166 per hour, again that's assuming no naps or toilet breaks.
Quote
The amazing accomplishment of producing one million photographs in two years through just one window has never before been attempted, let alone carried out.

That's because it's a stupid idea.

(http://jmscult.com/images/ahae/ahae/ahae6.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 04:44:05 AM
I think this is the first response from Mr Yoo. (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/04/25/2014042501240.html)  He's not worth W240 billion, he's worth W10 billion, and he's prepared to give that all ... leaving him with "perhaps" W230 billion. No mention of the cult, but the story ends with a photo of his 1987 arrest.

(http://jmscult.com/images/ahae/90s/arrest.jpg)
Quote
Ferry Operator's Owner Ready to Give Away Fortune

The de facto owner of Chonghaejin Marine, which operated the ferry Sewol that sank off the southwest coast last week, denies he amassed enormous wealth while scrimping and saving on safety procedures.

A lawyer representing Yoo Byung-eon told the Chosun Ilbo on Thursday that reports that Yoo's assets total W240 billion are not true and he is only worth around W10 billion. ...

Son said Yoo, a former chairman of Chonghaejin, has nonetheless "voiced his willingness to donate his entire W10 billion estate due to his deep sorrow for those who lost their lives aboard the Sewol." ...

Yoo and his two sons are separately under investigation for embezzlement, fraud and four other charges relating to their business.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 05:43:08 AM
Some more tidbits here.  (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2014/04/488_156058.html)No recruiting programs, just in-house recruiting from cult members. And that's certainly not a sound hiring strategy if you want to find the best people. Or course, if finding the best people for the job isn't your priority...

And there is some differing information about the current cult. This article states the cult Mr Yoo currently leads is the current incarnation of the mass suicide/murder cult, while other articles have said it's a different group. Whichever the case, they both have Mr. Yoo in common.

Quote
On Wednesday, prosecutors raided Yoo’s home and the offices of a Christian cult, which he has allegedly used to attract funds and sell products. Yoo himself is a long-time member of the cult.

The religious group was involved in a mass suicide in 1987, in which 32 followers were found dead in a hidden garret in a factory in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.

The cult and the credit union appear to be at the center of the ongoing investigation.

Yoo ran a cruise operator named Semo Marine until it went bankrupt in 1997. He was left with huge debts, however, he was able to found Chonghaejin Marine two years later, and set up a dozen more firms afterwards.

“His assets are now believed to be more than 240 billion won ($231 million),” another FSS official said. “We believe the cult was behind this successful business expansion. The credit union also appears to have played an important role.”

According to the prosecution, Yoo’s firms hired mostly the cult’s members and their sons and daughters. None of them have open recruitment programs.

Most of Sewol’s crewmembers, including the captain, Lee Joon-seok, are said to be members of the cult. Lee and a dozen other crewmembers were arrested for deserting the ship without taking measures to save the passengers.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 07:27:11 AM
More about Mr Yoo's photographer alter ego: (http://web.archive.org/web/20170107100115/http://en.chateauversailles.fr/news-/events/exhibitions/the-extraordinary-within-the-ordinary?archive=1)

AHAE. The Extraordinary Within the Ordinary
Quote
Catherine Pégard's foreword

I remember my first meeting with the son of Korean artist AHAE at the inauguration held at the Louvre in 2012, in the Tuileries garden, on the invitation of Henri Loyrette. Mr Yoo spoke of his father's unique work with simple words and admiration. He made it his mission to bring this work to people who are in too much of hurry to take the time to watch the incessant movements of life seen through a single window.

The "extraordinary within the ordinary" said Henri Loyrette with the insightful words which accompanied his assertive choices in the twelve years he spent at the helm of the Louvre.

Through a single window, from dawn to dusk, AHAE embraces the world in which the infinitely small takes prominence in the landscapes he unveils to us. Little bits and pieces create a fresco. And behind the photographer's modest gesture, we find the extreme sophistication of the poet's thoughts. A moment which merges with eternity.

This year, I've invited AHAE to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles a new series of photographs taken from the same window. The setting created at the Orangerie by Guy Oliver shows us the undreamt-of beauty of the world of AHAE, unfolding through the hours and seasons: "the extraordinary within the ordinary".

This year, we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of André Le Nôtre. With a form of recurring irony, AHAE's exhibition fits into this period dedicated to the King's gardener. While Le Nôtre disciplines nature and fashions it to the King's eye, AHAE is totally captivated by nature, in all its aspects, illustrating on the other side of the world, inside his room, the words of Marcel Proust: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes".

This is the voyage I am inviting you to embark on. I wish to thank Keith Yoo for having made it possible. A magical moment.


The Louvre AND the Palace of Versailles. Wow.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 07:44:45 AM
Korean news report detailing Mr Yoo's cults past and present:


Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 12:29:41 PM
This article offers quite a detailed account  (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/04/24/2014042401245.html)of the events leading up to the sinking, perhaps with a dash of speculation:
Quote
The Sewol was scheduled to leave Incheon at 6:30 p.m. on April 15. But other ships decided to remain in port that evening due to thick fog. Leaving port more than two hours past schedule, the Sewol was the only ship to sail out of Incheon that evening.

Once it got the green light to leave, the Sewol was overloaded with cargo, carrying 3,608 tons including large trailers, excavators, forklifts and passenger cars as against the permissible limit of 987 tons.

The crew are required to fasten cargo tightly, but that was largely ignored. The Sewol left port at 9 p.m., about 3 minutes after the last passenger got on board, which shows the crew did not spend much time securing the cargo. This excess cargo is largely believed to have caused the ferry to capsize.

The aging Sewol was an accident waiting to happen.

Ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine bought the ferry second-hand from a Japanese shipping company in 2012. It was built 18 years ago.

As more decks were added to the ferry, its center of gravity rose and weakened its capacity to regain stability. The remodeling was authorized by a nationwide cooperative of ship owners.

The ferry passed safety inspections in February this year, but there are suspicions that the checks may have been cursory, and there are accounts that the ferry was dangerously unstable even before the accident.

The Sewol's 46 lifeboats would have been more than enough to rescue the passengers, but only one was operating properly. Crews are required to conduct an emergency rescue drill every 10 days, but the captain and crew were not even familiar with the basic manual dealing with such incidents.
Chonghaejin Marine spent a paltry W541,000 on safety training last year (US$1=W1,041).

◆ Inexperienced Navigator

The ferry sank in an area reputed to have some of the fastest currents in the country. But the ferry's third mate Park Han-gyeol (26), who had begun working for the ferry company for just four months earlier, was guiding the Sewol through those waters.

It should have been the captain or first mate, but the crew stuck to their original work schedule despite the delayed departure. The captain, Lee Joon-seok (69) was not on the bridge as the Sewol navigated treacherous waters but was apparently smoking and resting in his cabin at the time.

There are no regulations stipulating that experienced navigators should guide vessels through dangerous waters, but they do stipulate that a ship's captain must guide his vessel when there are clear risks present....

Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 01:59:48 PM
More and more details are emerging (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/04/113_156136.html) as well as some contradictions. Earlier reports said Mr Yoo was a member of the cult that ended in a suicide. This newer article reports that he knew and had business details with the leader (Mrs. Park Soon-ja) of that cult, but that her cult was separate from his cult. Perhaps they just compared notes on how to exploit.

Quote
While serving as a pastor in the 1970s, he established a toy company and practically forced members of the “salvation sect” to work there under poor working conditions.

In a recent media interview, Chung Dong-seop, a former believer in the sect, said that Yoo preached that members would please God if they worked for the company run by the church.

“Their working conditions were miserable. They worked long hours but received a tenth of the wages of the average workers at that time. Yoo accumulated a considerable amount of money by exploiting his workers and the fortune he earned like this was used as seed money for the construction of his business empire,” said Chung,who is now a pastor.


As the toy business thrived, he said, Yoo no longer introduced himself as a pastor, but a CEO.

The sect reportedly has nearly 200,000 believers. But those who are familiar with the sect claimed that the actual number is merely some 10,000, including some celebrities.

The term salvation sect has resurfaced in the media nearly three decades after a mass suicide that shocked the nation in 1987, when 32 people were found dead inside the attic of the cafeteria of the Odaeyang artifacts factory.

The 32 were Odaeyang owner Park Soon-ja, her three children and her employees. The prosecution initially suspected that Yoo was linked to the mass suicide because the late Park was once involved in the Evangelical Baptist Church and a cash flow between the two groups was uncovered.

But the prosecution failed to find a physical connection between the sect and the mass suicide and concluded that the 32 were members of a separate religious cult that believed in the apocalyptic end of the world.

Yoo expanded his business empire rapidly in the 1990s before Semo, a holding company he founded, went under.

Yoo and his two sons restarted a shipping business, setting up Chonghaejin Marine, the operator of the ferry, in 1999, and since then have expanded the scope of their businesses.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 26, 2014, 11:19:18 PM

Two more articles, the second is quite extensive and it's just heartbreaking: http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/cult-linked-s-korean-ferry-mogul-probed (http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/cult-linked-s-korean-ferry-mogul-probed)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2611954/Reclusive-owner-South-Korean-ferry-dubbed-millionaire-no-face-raided-police-revealed-ran-CULT.html (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2611954/Reclusive-owner-South-Korean-ferry-dubbed-millionaire-no-face-raided-police-revealed-ran-CULT.html)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 27, 2014, 01:35:31 AM
A little more about Gu Won Pa (Salvation Sect) here: http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=575.0 (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=575.0)

And thanks to this site, (http://nnwpsg.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/good-news-mission-who-are-they/) we have a website for Mr. Yoo's cult: http://www.ebcworld.org/ (http://www.ebcworld.org/) and more details about the group's origins:

Quote
2. What is Good News Mission?
The Good News Mission is one of the representative heresy of Christianity that started its activities in around 1960s amongst the great changes and confusion in Korea, both socially and culturally. Strictly speaking, the Good News Mission has not originated from Korea, but was rather “imported” from the US. It has spread its roots in Korea through the Korean followers who were conveyed the doctrine and teaching from foreigners from the US and the Netherlands, etc. These so-called “foreign missionaries” have reared their followers with a viewpoint that there were seldom any gospels and redeemed pastors within the existing churches.

In particular, Dick York, who has called himself a “missionary” has viewed the existing churches as anti-gospel force and has asserted a systemic theological studies meant a departure from faith and being corrupted in the world. The leaders of the Good News Mission who have inherited these doctrines were Ock-Soo Par, Byung-Un Yoo, and Shin-Chan Kwon’s best student, Yo-Han Lee (Bok-Chil Lee).3) Currently, the organization is actively involved in the propagation of their teachings and doctrines with these three leaders, and the groups with Yo-Han Lee and Ock-Soo Park are spotted with more vigorous activities. Whereas Pastor Yo-Han Lee’s group (http://seoul.jbch.org (http://seoul.jbch.org)) and Pastor Ock-Soo Park’s group (www.goodnews.or.kr (http://www.goodnews.or.kr)) carry out their activities through Seoul Jungang Church located at the intersection of Indukwon Station in Anyang City, Gyeonggi-do, and Gangnam Church located in Yangjae-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul4) (moved from Daejeon Hanbat Jungang Church in Daejeon City), respectively, the late Pastor Shin-Chan Kwon (deceased) and Pastor Byung-Un Yoo’s group (www.ebcworld.org (http://www.ebcworld.org)) carries out its activities though Seoul Church in Samgakji area in Seoul.

Three main leaders in this organization have two things in common of being influenced by Dick York and using the church denomination of “Baptist” for their churches. The foreign “missionaries” including Dick York have conveyed their teaching that “the salvation can be achieved only through comprehension,” under the presumption that there is no gospel of salvation in the existing church denominations, such as the Presbyterian church, Methodist church, Holiness churches and Baptist church. Accordingly, what these three factions of the organization assert in common is that there is no salvation at the existing churches, and the people can only be redeemed of their sins by coming into their groups, listen to the gospel, and understand secrets of the redemption....

This faction of the Good News Mission creates sense of fear on the Revelation within this century, by spreading the dispensationalism eschatology, and insist those who do not come to its church would not be taken away at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but would have to endure seven years of the Tribulation. This organization argues the churches built with hands are not necessary, and only those in the Good News Mission would be taken away at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Eventually, the expectation of the followers of the Good News Mission has disguised Byung-Un Yoo as Jesus Christ who came back. And, in the end, Byung-Un Yoo has emerged as the Anointed One to the living Holy Spirit, to Jesus Christ, and finally, to the Messiah.

And there it is, Mr. Yoo is the Messiah. Or at least one of them. Messiahs are a dime a dozen in Korea.

A little more:
Quote
Who is Yo-Han Lee?

Yo-Han Lee (Bok-Chil Lee) was ordained as a minister in 1971 by Shin-Chan Kwon. However, as Byun-Un Yoo has diverted the offerings of the church into business in 1983 with such excuse as “business being a work of heaven,” Yo-Han Lee opposed against it with an official statement on the separation of church from business and was physically assaulted, through which he has left the organization with 5,000 followers and established another faction of his own. The faction under Yo-Han Lee has first gathered under the name of Seoul Church, then changed its name to Seoul Jungang Church in 1994. This faction of Good News Mission carries out its propagation activities through “faith counseling” and the Bible Conferences (Programs for Salvation).
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 27, 2014, 11:38:02 AM
...the late Pastor Shin-Chan Kwon (deceased) and Pastor Byung-Un Yoo’s group (www.ebcworld.org (http://www.ebcworld.org)) carries out its activities though Seoul Church in Samgakji area in Seoul.

I couldn't resist checking out the address given in that website. I guess crew training isn't the only thing Mr Yoo skimps on:

(http://jmscult.com/images/ahae/hq/sgj1.jpg)

(http://jmscult.com/images/ahae/hq/sgj2.jpg)

(http://jmscult.com/images/ahae/hq/sgj3.jpg)

(http://jmscult.com/images/ahae/hq/sgj4.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 29, 2014, 06:07:17 AM
Another Korean news report, this one from CBS (Christian Broadcasting Service). They've done reports on all my favorite Korean cults:

Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on April 30, 2014, 06:41:53 AM
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/04/29/82/0302000000AEN20140429001452315F.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/04/29/82/0302000000AEN20140429001452315F.html)

Quote
Kim Han-sik, the chief executive of Chonghaejin Marine Co. that owns and operates the Sewol, showed up at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office in the western port city of Incheon around 10 a.m. as a suspect in a widening investigation.

The summons came as part of the probe into what caused the deadly sinking of the Sewol on April 16 that has killed 193 people and left more than 100 others still missing. Of the 476 people aboard the ship, which sank in waters off the southwestern island of Jindo, only 174 people were rescued.

The prosecution suspects that the 72-year-old chief, is one of seven close aides to Yoo Byung-eun, a former chief of Semo Marine Co., the predecessor of the operator of the Sewol, and was deeply involved in the alleged crimes committed by Yoo.

Charges against Yoo and the owner family include embezzlement, dereliction of duty, tax evasion and bribery, prosecutors said.


Yoo's family is suspected of accumulating at least 240 billion won (US$230.7 million) in assets by embezzling corporate funds while failing to fulfill its duty of properly managing the companies. Prosecutors have also traced their hidden assets to pay damages to the victims and their families.

The prosecution has also notified Yoo's second son and his daughter to return to South Korea from overseas to face questioning.

The second son, Yoo Hyuck-ki, is one of the biggest shareholders in I-One-I holdings, along with the first son, Dae-hyun. The holding company owns stakes in Chonhaiji, a shipbuilding unit, which in turn owns about 40 percent of the ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine.

Yoo Hyuck-ki also owns an around 10 percent stake in Ahae Corp., a paint manufacturing company, and Ahae Press Corp, while the first son also holds a majority stake in Chonghaejin and door-to-door sales company Dapanda Co.

Such cross-share holdings helped the family manage and control the entire group of companies, including more than a dozen overseas units, some of which are being implicated in the deadly sinking of the Sewol....
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 01, 2014, 01:42:41 AM
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/topic/2014/04/29/82/1302000000AEN20140429001454315F.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/topic/2014/04/29/82/1302000000AEN20140429001454315F.html)

Quote
A joint investigation team of prosecutors and police in Mokpo, a southwestern port city located near the scene of the sinking, said that one crew member and the captain rescued from the ill-fated ship made repeated phone calls with Chonghaejin after the ship began tilting.

The crew member, whose identity has been withheld, talked with a Chonghaejin official six times, and the ferry's 69-year-old captain, Lee Joon-seok, also talked with the official on a phone, investigators said.

The team said it is looking into suspicions whether the crew members escaped the tilting ship and abandoned passengers on the order of the company.

Just a hunch, but something tells me that Chonghaejin official the captain and the crew member called is a senior member of Yoo's cult.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 02, 2014, 05:44:35 AM
From last week, the article with the weirdest title to date: (https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/04/511_156055.html)

Infidel Sewol captain and sailors devout Guwon faithfuls
Quote
The sunken ferry Sewol’s captain and sailors arrested for dereliction of their duty of rescuing passengers were confirmed as believers of a heathen cult known as Guwon (Korean for “salvation”).

KBS’s “News 9” broadcasted Tuesday in an interview with a former employee of Chonghaejin Marine, a ferry transportation company which owns Sewol.

He said more than 90 percent of the company employees are Guwon believers, including the company owner Yoo Byung-eun. He added captain Lee Joon-seok had become a devout believer after he landed his job at the company.

Guwon cult’s doctrine inculcates that those who were once saved by God are completely detached from the sins they will ever commit in the future and guaranteed a path to heaven.

The General Assembly of Presbyterian Church in Korea defined Guwon as a pagan branch, forcing the cult to establish their own religious foothold, The Evangelical Baptist Church.

Guwon previously made headlines in August 1987, when 32 corpses were discovered on a ceiling of a handicraft factory in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, which was a property of a company called Odaeyang. Police investigation had revealed the company was crushed with 17 billion won worth of private loans.

The victims, including its president Park Sun-ja, committed group suicide. They were all identified as believers of Guwon.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 03, 2014, 07:22:37 AM
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2014/05/02/0200000000AEN20140502003200315.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2014/05/02/0200000000AEN20140502003200315.html)

Quote
The owner family of a sunken ferry and their close aides again refused to respond to prosecution summonses Friday, prompting prosecutors to mull seeking court warrants to detain them.

The summonses come as prosecutors have expanded their investigation into corruption allegations surrounding Yoo Byung-eun, a billionaire suspected to be the de facto owner of Chonghaejin Marine Co. that owns and operates the ferry Sewol, and his family members.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 05, 2014, 07:48:32 AM
The Ask A Korean blog (http://askakorean.blogspot.kr/) has an excellent series on the sinking. Part 1 (http://askakorean.blogspot.kr/2014/04/the-sewol-tragedy-part-i-accident.html) and part 2  (http://askakorean.blogspot.kr/2014/05/the-sewol-tragedy-part-ii-causes-and.html)are up, and part 3 is on its way:

And back in 2010, the same blog examined the Salvation cult and near the end of the entry, Mr. Woo's involvement and scandalous past. I had booked marked the page when researching Mr. Ock's Good News Baptists/IYF, but had forgotten it also detailed Mr. Woo's cult. And it does so in more detail than anything else presently online: (http://askakorean.blogspot.kr/2010/04/who-are-these-people-in-orange-t-shirts.html)

Here's a taste:
Quote
The last question provided the start of the thread that the police pursued. The key officer was running the company, which means he was in charge of the company’s money. The police reconstructed how much money the Five Seas company collected, and it was estimated to be up to $ 17 million (assuming $1 = KRW 1,000) – an astronomical sum in late 1980s Korea. Then the next logical question is: where did the money go?

This is where the link between the Five Seas company and the Saviorists began to emerge. Bulk of the money was traced to a company called Semo Corporation, led by a man named Yoo Byeong-Eon (유병언) whose side job was to be a pastor for a Saviorist church. (Does the name sound familiar?)

This was a big deal at the time, because Semo Corporation was a big company, mostly known for importing the tour cruise boats on the Han River in Seoul. (The Korean remembers riding those boats as well.) The investigation further revealed that Park Soon-Ja (the cult leader of the Five Seas) and most of her followers were originally from Yoo’s church.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 06, 2014, 03:27:30 AM
Some more interesting tidbits of information...

Veteran actress linked to Sewol corruption probe (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2988738)

Quote
A celebrated veteran actress is suspected of being a close ally with the owner family of the beleaguered operator of the sunken Sewol ferry and holding executive positions in the operator’s affiliates as well as a religious institution linked to that family. ...

Besides her business-related roles, Kim is also suspected of playing a key role in promoting a controversial pseudo-Christian cult led by Yoo. Prosecutors said that Kim is now the managing director of a religious facility called Geumsuwon in Anseong, Gyeonggi.

The complex is known to encompass various restaurants, shops and even an amusement park, services that are exclusively available for believers. Members of the religious group often gather there to pray together, and nonbelievers are banned from visiting. ...

Kim publicly admitted to being a devout believer during a press conference in 1991. In the face of the allegations brought up against her, Kim denied any wrongdoing. “I will participate in the questioning as frankly as I can,” she said on Monday. “I have nothing to hide and I would not avoid any request for questioning by the prosecutors,” she added in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo.

She has not turned up to film scenes for a drama in which she currently stars. MBC, the broadcasting company, said that it will make a decision on whether to drop her later.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 07, 2014, 05:45:37 AM
The noose is tightening...
Prosecution gives 'ultimatum' to sunken ferry's owner family (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/search1/2603000000.html?cid=AEN20140502003252315) (May 2, 2014)

Quote
The owner family of a sunken ferry and their close aides have been notified for the last time to appear before prosecutors for questioning after they refused to comply with prosecution summonses twice, prosecutors said Friday.

The prosecution gave an ultimatum to Yoo Hyuk-ki, the second son of Yoo Byung-eun, a billionaire suspected to be the de facto owner of Chonghaejin Marine Co. that owns and operates the ferry Sewol, and two chiefs of affiliates suspected to be owned by the Yoo family to show up at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office in the western port city of Incheon by Thursday.

The move comes as prosecutors have expanded their investigation into corruption allegations surrounding Yoo Byung-eun and his family members who are facing a host of corruption charges, including embezzlement, dereliction of duty, tax evasion and bribery, prosecutors said. ...

The prosecution, meanwhile, said it is mulling over summoning Jeon Young-ja, a 72-year-old actress and a close aide to Yoo, for questioning.

Jeon, whose real name is Kim Kyoung-sook, heads a local media group and is also a member of a controversial religious group that has a close relationship with the mysterious owner.

The prosecution suspects that funds from members of the religious group, the Evangelical Baptist Church, were used in the business operations of Chonghaejin and Yoo's other affiliates.

Meanwhile, prosecutors also arrested Song Kook-bin, a close aide of the owner of the capsized ferry, on Friday as part of their expanded investigation into various corruption allegations surrounding the owner family.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 08, 2014, 10:22:34 PM
The reason Ahae, Mr. Yoo's photographer alter-ego,  (http://ahae.com/introduction/)exists is revealed in this article: (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_156716.html)

Quote
The prosecution sought arrest warrants, Wednesday, for Byeon Gi-choon, CEO of Chonhaeji, a ship building affiliate of Chonghaejin Marine, and Ko Chang-hwan, CEO of Semo, a major affiliate, on charges of breach of trust.

They are suspected of paying tens of billions of won to the Yoo family on the pretext of “business counseling.”

Byeon allegedly bought photographs taken by Yoo at prices far more than their apparent value. He is also the CEO of I-One-I Holdings, a de facto holding company that controls the ferry operator.
That reminds me of the "art" of serial rapist Jeong Myeong-seok. From his May 16, 2004 sermon:
Quote
It would take me only 3 minutes for me to draw a picture. Sometimes when I do it fast, I could do it in 1 minute. But because I’m always so busy, I only draw abstracts. Abstracts take me only 30 to 40 seconds to draw. I can draw a great masterpiece in that short a time. I’ve drawn so many pictures, in the past 40 years, I’ve been drawing pictures. And such pictures are great masterpieces. Later they’ll be worth millions of dollars.
And presto - members start paying more for his art. (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=93.0)

(http://www.jmscult.com/images/jms/art/4.jpg)

And like Jeong, Mr Yoo aka Ahae, considers himself a poet: (http://ahae.com/collection/)

Quote
POEMS BY AHAE by ASSOULINE
A series collection of Ahae's poetry | Volumes 1-3 currently available | Korean text with select poems translated into English

ECHOES OF MY THOUGHTS by ASSOULINE
A collection of Ahae's poetry | Available in English, French, Korean, Italian, Russian
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 09, 2014, 11:12:14 PM
A notice spied 5 minutes ago in the elevator I ride up to my office every day:

(http://www.jmscult.com/images/ahae/guwonpa.jpg)

It's a warning about Guwonpa which mentions the ferry disaster and Mr. Ock's groups (IYF etc.) (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?board=59.0) I was under the impression that Ock's groups are separate from Mr Yoo's cult/businesses. My understanding is they are separate offshoots of the same group. The confusion - if I'm correct - comes from the fact that the same name "Guwonpa (Salvation Sect)" is used for the different offshoots. Guwonpa seems to be an umbrella term used to describe such offshoots, three in total according to the sites I linked to earlier in this thread. Of course, they could be related behind the scenes, and Mr Yoo's groups could be the business arms of the organisation. Either way, it's nice to see some cult awareness raising popping up at work :)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 09, 2014, 11:20:36 PM
May 7: Ferry owner's aide quizzed over corruption allegations (http://0200000000AEN20140507008800315.html)

Quote
Prosecutors on Wednesday summoned a close aide to the owner of the sunken ferry Sewol as part of their expanded probe into multiple corruption allegations surrounding the owner family.

Lee Kang-se, the former chief of Ahae Corp., a painting manufacturing company owned by Yoo Byung-eun, faced questioning once again by investigators of the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office for his role in Yoo's creation of slush funds.

May 8: Chief of sunken ferry operator arrested for questioning (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/08/60/0302000000AEN20140508002051315F.html)

Quote
A joint team of prosecutors and police arrested Kim Han-sik, chief executive of Chonghaejin Marine Co., at his home in Bundang, south of Seoul, for questioning, investigators said.

Charges against Kim include manslaughter and a violation of the act on vessel safety, they added. ...

Kim is also known as a close aide to Yoo Byung-eun, a mysterious billionaire suspected to be the de facto owner of Chonghaejin and other affiliates.

Meanwhile, the prosecution has secured documents allegedly tying Yoo to Chonghaejin and other affiliates which could prove that he actually controls the companies, prosecution sources said Thursday. ...

According to multiple prosecution sources, the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office probing various corruption allegations surrounding Yoo and his family has secured a so-called "inside organization chart" that names Yoo as the chairman of the firm.

The chart was obtained when the prosecution office raided the offices of Chonghaejin Marine and other affiliates, the sources said.

"The heads of other affiliates, known to be the close aides to Yoo, have generally denied his involvement in the management. However, the prosecution secured testimony from executives and retired employees of the firm that Yoo was involved," said one of the sources.

Yoo -- a businessman, artist, ex-convict and religious figure -- has been suspected of controlling the company through two of his sons, who own stakes in the firm through various subsidiaries.

Prosecutors also said they are considering seeking a court warrant to detain Yoo's second son, Hyuk-ki, and other close aides who have refused to respond to prosecution summonses for the third time.

The prosecution had earlier given an ultimatum to the three to show up at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office in the western port city of Incheon by 10 a.m. Thursday.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 09, 2014, 11:57:40 PM
Just saving some links to read later; some old, some new:
http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2988581 (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2988581)

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_156840.html (https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_156840.html)

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/topic/1302000001.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/topic/1302000001.html)

http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=040000&biid=2014042124988 (http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=040000&biid=2014042124988)

http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2988911 (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2988911)

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2014/05/09/0200000000AEN20140509002700315.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2014/05/09/0200000000AEN20140509002700315.html)

http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2988911 (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2988911)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 10, 2014, 11:41:17 PM
Pay stub sheds light on Yoo salary (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2988944)
Quote
A team of police and prosecutors investigating the cause of the ferry disaster revealed yesterday that Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken Sewol ferry’s operator, received a monthly salary of 10 million won ($9,760) over a year from Chonghaejin Marine Company.

Investigators, who are looking into corruption allegations surrounding Yoo and his two sons and their potential contributions to the ferry disaster, obtained a pay stub during a raid on the beleaguered operator. The document stated that a monthly salary of 10 million won had been paid out for approximately a year. This is the latest in a series of evidence suggesting that the elder Yoo was involved in the Chonghaejin Marine Company’s management. On Wednesday, the prosecution said that, after raiding the offices of Chonghaejin Marine Company and its affiliates, it had also discovered an internal organization chart that named Yoo as the operator’s president.

The 73-year-old business tycoon is the founder of Semo Group, the predecessor to Chonghaejin and widely considered to be the family patriarch. However, investigators have so far had a hard time proving Yoo’s influence, as he does not hold any formal position or shares within the company.

Investigators are seeking to verify whether the tycoon ordered or concealed the operator’s poor safety management or illegal business practices, such as its overloading of the Sewol ferry. Prosecutors said that during the time of the accident, the 6,825-ton ferry was carrying cargo that was three times heavier than the maximum weight limit and suggested that it could have contributed to the ship’s abrupt capsizing.

Yoo may face homicide charges (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_156891.html)
 (http://[/url)
Quote
The prosecution is considering negligent homicide charges against former Semo Group Chairman Yoo Byung-eun as it secured evidence to prove his involvement in management of the operator of the sunken ferry Sewol. The prosecution is also weighing the right time to summon Yoo.

Among the evidence seized during a raid was an organization chart updated April 15, a day before the tragedy took place, according to the prosecution. It shows Yoo as the chairman of Chonghaejin Marine, the operator of the Sewol. Another document, emergency contacts written in 2011, also lists Yoo as the chairman. Yoo was given an employee identification number, “A9901,” according to the prosecution.

Yoo denied in a statement on April 25 that he influenced the firm’s management. He claimed that he has been devoted only to photography in the last several years. The prosecution, however, found he collected some 15 million won every month from Chonghaejin on the pretext of advisory fees.

Widening the investigation into Yoo and his family, investigators Friday raided six places linked to them, including the office of Moreal Design in southern Seoul. Yoo’s eldest daughter, Yoo Seom-na, heads the design firm, which has done design work for many of Semo’s affiliates. The prosecution summoned Seom-na, but she didn’t respond.

Investigators also searched Gookje Yeongsang in Yongsan, Seoul. The media company is considered a key affiliate of Semo Group because Yoo Byung-eun held a 28.8-percent stake in the unit until 2009. He gave up his shares in other affiliates of Semo after it went bankrupt in 1997.

Jeon Yang-ja, a 72-year-old actress, is the president of the media company as well as an organic food grocery store. Jeon is expected to be summoned today.

The prosecution requested Thursday that the court issue warrants to apprehend Yoo’s second son, Hyuk-kee, Kim Hye-gyung, president of Hankook Pharmaceutical, and Kim Pil-bae, a former I-One-I Holdings CEO. They are staying abroad, not responding to the prosecution’s summons. Prosecutors are cooperating with foreign law enforcement agencies to bring them to Korea.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 12, 2014, 10:52:06 AM
Prosecutors to question eldest son of sunken ferry's owner (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/11/12/0302000000AEN20140511002400315F.html)
Quote
Prosecutors said Sunday they will summon the eldest son of the de-facto owner of a passenger ferry that capsized and sank off the southwest coast last month as part of their investigation into alleged corruption by the owner family.

Yoo Dae-kyun is the first son of Yoo Byeong-eun, the former chairman of Semo Group who is believed to own Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ferry Sewol.

The 44-year-old son was ordered to come in for questioning at Incheon District Prosecutors' Office at 10 a.m. Monday, prosecutors in charge of the case said....

Dae-kyun is the second person from the Yoo family to be grilled over the corruption allegations. Yoo Byeong-eun's older brother Byeong-il was summoned for questioning on Sunday.

Prosecutors have sought arrest warrants for Yoo's second son Hyuk-ki and eldest daughter Som-na, both currently staying abroad, as they repeatedly refused to respond to prosecution summons.

Yoo Byeong-eun is also expected to be called in this week, according to prosecution sources.
Will he show up??

A little more:
Yoo's eldest son to be called in (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_156947.html)
Quote
The prosecution will call in Yoo Dae-gyun, the eldest son of the former Semo Group Chairman Yoo Byung-eun, for questioning today. The Incheon District Prosecutors' Office suspects that he had pocketed the affiliates' money and helped his father create secret funds.

On Sunday, the former chairman's elder brother, Yoo Byung-il, was questioned over his involvement in Chonghaejin Marine. He was the first to be questioned among the members of the Yoo family.

Yoo's second son, Yoo Hyuk-kee, defied the prosecution's previous summons. He is known as the heir apparent of Yoo's empire. Yoo Byung-il is suspected of having played a role in adding more cabins to the ferry, one of the suspected reasons for the sinking. The prosecution has so far questioned many of Yoo's inner circle who are suspected of helping him hide money away.

Chae Gyu-jeong, CEO of Onzigoo, was summoned Sunday for allegations that he purchased photographs taken by Yoo at prices far more than their apparent value. Onzigoo is an auto parts making affiliate. Before taking the post in 2008, Chae served as vice governor of North Jeolla Province and mayor of Iksan. Prosecutors suspect Chae has been deeply involved in creating secret funds for Yoo and bribing politicians.

On Saturday, Jeon Yang-ja, a 72-year-old actress and the president of Gookje Yeongsang, was grilled over allegations that she had deeply involved in creating the Yoo family's secret funds. She denied she was given any orders from Yoo in running the company. The media company is considered a key affiliate of Semo because the senior Yoo held a 28.8 percent stake in the unit until 2009. He gave up his shares in other affiliates of Semo after it went bankrupt in 1997. Those shares were distributed to affiliates, including Chonghaejin Marine, Ahae, Chonhaeji and Moonjin Media.

Jeon has been believed to be one of the closest friends of Yoo, serving as the head of a facility of a religious cult, "Salvation Sect," as well as a food and grocery distributer. The sect is an evangelical Baptist-style church created by Yoo and his father-in-law. It was ousted from the Christian churches council for being “heretical.” ...

Former politician questioned in case against Yoo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2988997)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 13, 2014, 09:02:17 AM
Will he show up??
No, he didn't. (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157022.html) I guess the next step is to flee the country on a false passport. Perhaps his brother, Hyuk-kee, already has:
Quote
All four children of former Semo Group Chairman Yoo Byung-eun have rejected the prosecution’s summonses regarding an investigation into the April 16 sinking of the ferry Sewol. The prosecution said Yoo’s eldest son Dae-gyun, who was supposed to appear for questioning Monday at the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office, failed to show up or give any prior reason.   

Previously, Yoo’s other three children ― Hyuk-kee also known as Keith, Seom-na known as Ennette and Sang-na ― all ignored the prosecution’s summonses. Investigators are now moving to summon Yoo, 73, who allegedly owns the ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine and dozens of its affiliates through back-door deals. Prosecutors said they will take measures to detain Yoo first as he may reject their summons as his children did. ...

For Hyuk-kee, the second son, and Seom-na, the eldest daughter, prosecutors have requested the court to issue custody warrants after they repeatedly ignored the summonses. Hyuk-kee, in fact, has disappeared and even dropped out of contact with his lawyer in Korea, Cho Gyung-hun of Geewoo Law....

The Incheon District Court held hearings Monday for arrest warrants sought against Kim Dong-hwan, the auditor of Dapanda, and Oh Kyung-seok, president of Hemato Centric Life Institute who was in charge of selling Yoo Byung-eun’s photography works.

In a statement on April 25, Yoo Byun-eun denied that he was involved in Semo Group and its affiliates’ management. He claimed that he has been solely devoted to photography for the last several years.

More here (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2989063)
Quote
The eldest son of the family behind the company that operated the sunken Sewol ferry yesterday ignored a prosecution summons over corruption allegations about his family. Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office scheduled Yoo Dae-gyun, the first son of family patriarch Yoo Byung-eun, to appear at the Incheon office by 10 a.m. yesterday, but he didn’t show up. Prosecutors plan to send a second invitation for questioning.

Both the son and his father face accusations that include embezzlement and tax evasion, though the prosecution has yet to summon the elder Yoo, who is widely considered the master of the family businesses. The 44-year-old son is a major shareholder of I-One-I Holdings, a holding company of the beleaguered operator of the Sewol, Chonghaejin Marine Company, and two other affiliates: Dapanda and Trigon Korea.

Authorities allege that the son illegally pocketed tens of billions of won in company funds by charging bogus consultation fees to affiliates operated by the family. The junior Yoo is also accused of setting up a shell company in order to facilitate or conceal financial irregularities committed by the elder Yoo. ...

Also evading the prosecution are second son Hyeok-gi and eldest daughter Som-na, who currently lives abroad. Prosecutors requested them to appear for questioning several times, but they didn’t comply. Investigators said they are in the process of asking for help from U.S. investigation agencies including the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations to question Yoo’s second son. ...

Two close aides are also abroad, allegedly to avoid prosecution summons. Kim Hye-Kyung, the head of a pharmaceutical affiliate, and Kim Pil-jae, the president of a publishing company, all disobeyed invitations to come for questioning.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 14, 2014, 04:16:32 AM
Prosecutors try to arrest ferry owner's son (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/13/42/0302000000AEN20140513003400315F.html)
Quote
Prosecutors on Tuesday unsuccessfully attempted to execute a court-issued warrant to detain the eldest son of the de facto owner of a sunken ferry after he disobeyed a prosecution summons.

A team of prosecutors and investigators visited Yoo Dae-kyun's home in southern Seoul to officially arrest him for questioning over his role in the sinking of the ferry Sewol in southwestern waters on April 16, but he was not there, prosecutors said.

The 44-year-old is the first son of Yoo Byeong-eun, who is suspected to be the owner of Chonghaejin Marine Co., which operated the ferry.

The Incheon District Court on Monday issued the arrest warrant for the younger Yoo after he failed to appear before prosecutors in the morning. The court cited fears that he may flee.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 15, 2014, 01:57:33 PM
Some interesting if predictable news today:

Prosecutors to question sunken ferry's suspected owner (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2014/05/13/0200000000AEN20140513003453315.html)
Quote
Prosecutors said Tuesday they will summon the de facto owner of a sunken ferry later this week for questioning over alleged corruption by the owner family. Yoo Byung-eun, suspected to be the owner of the ferry's operator, Chonghaejin Marine Co., has been told to show up at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office by 10 a.m. on Friday, they said.

Eldest son of sunken ferry's owner put on wanted list (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/14/62/0302000000AEN20140514007400315F.html)
Quote
The eldest son of the de facto owner of a sunken ferry was put on a wanted list Wednesday as he continued to snub prosecution summons for questioning over his role in one of the country's worst maritime disasters.

Although the exact cause of the accident has yet to be determined, the prosecution suspects that corruption by the owner family may have resulted in lax safety practices, such as overloading, and eventually the April 16 sinking that has left more than 300 people dead or missing.

The local prosecution office investigating the case said it had put on the most wanted list Yoo Dae-kyun, the first son of Yoo Byeong-eun who is suspected to be the owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

Prosecutors said they are closely monitoring ports across the country amid fears that he could stow away to a foreign country aboard a ship. "We are preparing for the worst-case scenario," Kim Hoe-jong, a senior prosecutor at the office, told a press briefing. "The prosecution is also looking into those who allegedly helped the younger Yoo flee."

The move comes as prosecutors have expanded their investigation into corruption allegations surrounding the Yoo family, who are facing a host of corruption charges, including embezzlement, dereliction of duty, tax evasion and bribery.

The elder Yoo -- a businessman, artist, ex-convict and religious figure -- is suspected of controlling Chonghaejin Marine through two of his sons, who own stakes in the firm through various subsidiaries.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 15, 2014, 02:07:19 PM
And here are some more details and a rather odd revelation. (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2989125) Abandoned subway cars? I predicted the man hunt, but I sure didn't see that one coming:
Quote
The family behind the company that operated the sunken Sewol ferry continued to stonewall investigators yesterday. Prosecutors failed to arrest the oldest son of family patriarch Yoo Byung-eun in Seoul and aren’t even sure where other family members are.

A group of prosecutors and police officers visited the residence of 44-year-old Yoo Dae-gyun, the eldest son of the family, in Seocho District, southern Seoul, yesterday, bringing arrest and raid warrants issued by a court for tax evasion and embezzlement.

Firefighters forced open a locked door and the team stormed the house to search for the son. However, as of press time, they did not find him. ...

On Monday, the prosecution sent a senior prosecutor and several investigators to the headquarters of the Evangelical Baptist Church in Anseong, Gyeonggi, which the patriarch founded and allegedly leads, suspecting the eldest son and father could be hiding there.

The headquarters, called Geumsuwon, is located in a remote mountainous area and protected by barbed-wire fences and surrounded by old, used Seoul Metro trains. It’s thought that the sect’s adherents hold religious ceremonies and sleep inside the subway cars.  Officials of the church refused to open the main gate of the headquarters when the prosecutor and investigators visited Monday, saying the Yoos were not there.

About 50 adherents of the sect held a rally right inside the main gate and brought about 40 vehicles to block the gate. They claimed the prosecution was trying to crack down on the church, which they say had nothing to do with the Yoo family or the sinking of the ferry.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 15, 2014, 10:03:11 PM
The crazy factor just went up a dozen notches:

Cult followers in standoff with prosecution (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157216.html)
Quote
Hundreds of members of the Salvation Sect associated with the owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, threatened to become martyrs Wednesday if authorities try to forcibly enter their holdout.

“We are ready to die as martyrs. The prosecution should be prepared to see bloodshed for its suppression of religion.”

These were chants shouted by members of the Evangelical Baptist Church at Geumsuwon, who are led by Yoo Byung-eun. Prosecutors and police have issued summons to Yoo and his children.

Geumsuwon is said to be one place where Yoo is possibly hiding. The former chairman of Semo Group was summoned by the prosecution Tuesday for questioning on Friday but failed to reply.

Kim Hyeon-nim, an Evangelical Baptist Church member, wrote on the message board of the church’s website, ebcworld.org, “Let’s fight, prepared for death of the very last person, in the war against the evil demons that lie, saying we are wicked and curse us. The Book of Esther says, We will die if we have to die.”

Observers fear that Yoo’s family may abuse their authority in the cult to protect themselves from being investigated over how they accumulated wealth by linking their businesses to it.

According to the local daily Donga Ilbo, Yoo’s eldest son, Yoo Dae-gyun, told his acquaintance that his family had “entered a war,” in relation to the Odaeyang incident in 1991 in which 32 people were found dead.

Prosecutors on Wednesday placed Dae-gyun on the wanted list amid fears that he would flee the country.

Local news outlets reported that Yoo’s second son, Yoo Hyuk-kee or “Keith,” may try to seek asylum abroad for “suppression of his religion.” He has also ignored the prosecution’s summons. ...
Once again, the JoongAng Daily has more: (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989176)
Quote
Hundreds of adherents of the Evangelical Baptist Church, founded by the de facto owner of the overloaded and doomed Sewol ferry, declared war on authorities trying to track him and his family down.

They said if prosecutors and police officers force open the gate of the church to arrest the owner, Yoo Byung-eun, and his eldest son, they would stage a “religious crusade.”

More than 100 adherents of the church, also called “the Salvation sect,” staged a sit-in protest yesterday inside the main gate of the church’s headquarters in a remote mountainous area in Anseong, Gyeonggi, to block prosecutors or police from gaining access.

The protesters insisted the church had nothing to do with the ferry disaster on April 16, in which 281 died and 23 are missing. They said they could not confirm whether any of the Yoo family members were in the complex, but claimed no one had seen any.

“It is totally nonsense to say there is a connection between the accident [the ferry’s sinking] and the Salvation sect,” Jo Gye-wung, an administrative official at the church, told reporters outside the church’s gate.

“We are trying to block the prosecution from entering the church. I am not sure whether Yoo Byung-eun is here or not, but there is no one here who has seen him in the church.”

Jo said there were about 300 or 400 believers in the church, who gathered after they saw news of the prosecution’s visit to the headquarters.

Another adherent told reporters that Yoo’s eldest son Dae-gyun was not in the church.  “Yoo Dae-gyun was not an important person for the church,” he said. “I’m sure the son is not here now.” Half of the believers were their 20s or 30s.

About 20 security guards and other people surrounded the main gate to prevent reporters and prosecutors from entering. A sign was erected reading, “No crackdown on religion!” and “Protect the freedom of religion.” One protester announced through a megaphone, “We will be martyred if necessary.”

The prosecutors are trying to find and arrest Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of Cheonghaejin Marine Company, and his eldest son, a major shareholder of the operator. The son is accused of illegally pocketing tens of billions of won in company funds and setting up a shell company to facilitate or conceal financial irregularities committed by his father. They both ignored notices from the prosecution to come in for questioning.

Prosecutors are trying to verify the company structure and the use of company funds to figure out if the owner is responsible for the ferry’s poor safety management, including overloading, which may have caused the maritime disaster.

Prosecutors raided the son’s house on Tuesday but failed to find any family members inside. They couldn’t get into the church’s headquarters without causing a violent confrontation with the adherents.

Starting Tuesday, the adherents blocked the gate all night long and took turns guarding it. Some chanted hymns, and others arranged chairs and provided water for reporters sitting outside.

They said they have a canteen that can accommodate up to 800 people in the headquarters. One protester shouted yesterday, “There is nowhere for us to back off! We will stake our lives to protect the church!”

The prosecution yesterday said it put Yoo Dae-gyun on a nationwide wanted list, classifying him as a “Class-A” suspect. He can be arrested on the spot if found by police.

And an opinion piece: (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2989128)
Quote
The de facto owner of the sunken Sewol ferry, Yoo Byung-eon, refuses to cooperate in the investigation of the accident. He is obviously trying to avoid very expensive legal accountability for the tragic disaster. Yoo and his family are making a big mistake if they think they are above the law. ...

Given the Yoo family’s earlier promise to cooperate with the prosecution’s investigation, the sudden about-face raises serious doubts about whether they are trying to obstruct justice and whether they will use their foot-dragging to give them time to destroy evidence. ...
Or time to run away. I don't think there's any point in destroying evidence now. The prosecution appears to have all the evidence they need.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 16, 2014, 11:02:50 PM
Manslaughter charges brought against senior crew: (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989244)
Quote
The captain and three senior crew members of the sunken Sewol ferry, who are accused of abandoning ship while ordering entrapped passengers to stay put, were indicted yesterday on charges of homicide. ... The four crew were among the first to be rescued on the day of the accident by the Coast Guard.

The exact charge prosecutors brought against Lee Jun-seok, the 69-year-old captain, and the three other crew members is manslaughter by omission. One can be liable for this crime when the fault lies in a failure to foresee and allow otherwise avoidable dangers to occur by a defendant responsible for preventing such dangers. If convicted, the four can be sentenced to life in prison. ...

While prosecutors managed to summon Yoo’s close aides for questioning, they have failed to question any members of the Yoo family. Prosecutors summoned Yoo to appear today. The two sons - Yoo Hyeok-gi and Yoo Dae-gyun - ignored requests to come in for questioning.

The second oldest son, Hyeok-gi, currently lives in the United States and the police are in the process of seeking help from U.S. agencies including the FBI. The prosecution said that it put the older son, Dae-gyun, on a nationwide wanted list, classifying him as a “Class-A” suspect. With that status, he can be arrested on the spot if found by police.

Investigators assume that Dae-gyun is taking refuge in a religious facility in Anseong, Gyeonggi, which is dedicated to serving members of a pseudo-Christian cult led by the elder Yoo. However, adherents to the sect are blocking investigators from entering.

The adherents yesterday issued a statement accusing the police of “suppressing the freedom of religion.” They blamed the deaths in the ferry capsizing on the Korea Coast Guard rather than the ship’s operator.

Also evading the investigation from abroad are two close aides of the elder Yoo: Kim Hye-Kyung, the head of a pharmaceutical affiliate, and Kim Pil-bae, the president of a publishing company. The Korean office of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations yesterday requested its headquarters to revoke the two men’s rights to stay in the United States.

Sewol operator affiliates suspected of massive illegal loans (http://)
Quote
The financial watchdog said Thursday that affiliates of the operator of the sunken ferry Sewol are suspected of having used credit unions to take out billions of won of illegal loans, helping the owner family of the operator amass a huge fortune.

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), announcing the results of its probe so far, said some of the local credit unions had lent some 6.6 billion won (US$6.4 million) to Yoo Byung-eun, the virtual owner of Chonghaejin Marine Co., the Sewol operator, and his children, under suspicious circumstances between 2006 and 2012. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 17, 2014, 03:50:06 AM
Surprise surprise, Mr Yoo didn't show up.  (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/16/64/0302000000AEN20140516002800315F.html)
Quote
The de facto owner of a passenger ferry that sank off the southwest coast last month disobeyed a prosecution summons Friday for questioning over his alleged role in one of the country's worst maritime disasters.

Yoo Byung-eun, who is suspected to be the owner Chonghaejin Marine Co. that owns and operates the ferry Sewol, failed to appear at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office in the western port city of Incheon.

The prosecution suspects that corruption by Yoo -- an entrepreneur, artist, ex-convict and religious figure -- and his family resulted in lax safety practices, such as cargo overloading, and eventually caused the April 16 sinking that has left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Yoo is under suspicion of controlling Chonghaejin Marine through two of his sons, who own stakes in the firm through various subsidiaries, prosecutors said.

According to sources at the prosecution office, prosecutors are mulling over forcibly entering a church retreat in Anseong, south of Seoul, where the mysterious owner is believed to be hiding.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 17, 2014, 07:21:18 AM
Back to Ahae, the photographer alter-ego of Mr Yoo. His website has been revamped. I believe the ridiculous claims I saved earlier are gone. www.ahae.com (http://www.ahae.com) now links to http://ahaenews.com/en (http://ahaenews.com/en) which offer testimonies in defense of Mr Yoo, and I think every one of them is worth saving:

The first addresses allegations the Louvre was bribed. There is a statement on the new AHAE site and a video testimony:
On AHAE: Mike von Joel / Editor in Chief, STATE MEDIA, London (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaMgrowrgds#)

Quote
No Artist can ‘Bribe’ a Historical and World Renowned Institution such as the Louvre
Mike von Joel / Editor in Chief, STATE MEDIA, London
23 April 2014

I feel compelled to write following certain news items brought to my attention through the international news feeds that are accessed daily by my office.

In particular, my attention has been drawn to the insidious calumnies currently being directed at the Korean photographer and artist we know in the UK as AHAE.

I have no knowledge of the politics or business infrastructure of South Korea and have no authority for making any comment on current or past activities of corporate entities based therein. However, as the editor in chief of the largest circulation art & photography magazine based in London and serving the whole of the UK, I do have the authority to comment on the standing of the Korean photographer AHAE, his work and his status in the contemporary European art world.

1. His recent exhibition programme

AHAE has recently completed an exhibition programme that began modestly in Prague under the auspices of one of the Czech Republic’s leading curators, museum director, critic and artist: Prof Milan Knížák.

It culminated with a major exhibition in Paris under the umbrella of the Louvre with a personal citation by the Director of the Louvre, Mr Henri Loyrette. This was followed by a tribute exhibition at the Palace of Versailles at which Mr Loyrette attended as one of the guests of honour.

AHAE showed photographic works from his conceptual landscape series and also some of his natural history studies of wild life – these being representative of his declared interest in sustaining the planet and its natural resources.

It has apparently being claimed that these were somehow ‘bogus’ exhibitions and the result of AHAE’s associates ‘buying’ favours with these organisations.

Accusations like these are so ridiculous that they barely merit discussion. No artist, however exalted, can ‘bribe’ a historical and world renowned institution such as the Louvre. Ask the simple question: why would the Louvre jeopardise its centuries old reputation for any individual that happened to offer financial inducements? It is an organ of the French State and dedicated to superior works of art across all disciplines. The sole reason AHAE enjoyed a collaboration with this august institution was on the basis of merit – supported by the opinion of a number of eminent critics who have witnessed the development of AHAE photographic works over the last three years or so.

2. The price of AHAE’s photographs.

There have been further accusations that AHAE’s works cannot possibly command the prices that have been quoted. Suffice it say that the most expensive contemporary photograph in world is by Andreas Gursky – a German artist. Called Rhine II. It was bought for £2.7 million. It is a large scale work that simply depicts the Rhine River. It is illustrated here:

 Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 9.10.53 PM
Large scale photographs using the latest digital processes at the idiom of the moment and landscape is a perennial favourite with serious collectors.

3. Sponsorship of Exhibitions

Finally, I am given to understand that some corporate sponsorship initiatives are being re-addressed and re-defined as ‘bribery’ or otherwise as ‘corrupt’ practice.

Suffice it to say that every major exhibition – indeed, even modest exhibitions of quality – are sponsored in the current contemporary art market. Deutsche Bank and USB are constant high profile supporters of events in the UK; in America and Europe this is even more the ‘norm’.

This year (2014) Euisun Chung, vice-chairman of Hyundai, announced the new 11-year sponsorship deal with London’s Tate Modern art gallery valued at in excess of £5 million.

I am personally appalled at the grotesque distortions being aimed at the artist AHAE all of which appear to be completely fabricated and without foundation.

Yours sincerely,

Mike von Joel DipAD MA

Editor in Chief
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 17, 2014, 07:24:42 AM
Press release from AHAE press: (http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/25/6354673/korean-photographer-ahae-and-ahae.html)

Quote
Korean photographer AHAE and Ahae Press express profound sadness to Sewol ferry victims and condolences to the families of those lost and injured
By Ahae Press, Inc.
Published: Friday, Apr. 25, 2014 - 2:53 pm
NEW YORK, April 25, 2014 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Ahae Press and the noted photographer who goes by the name AHAE (Byung Eun Yoo) and whose works have been shown at the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles, were shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of life in the Sewol ferry disaster last week, and share in the great grief the victims and their families are experiencing from this devastating tragedy.

While reports have noted correctly that Mr. Yoo's two sons are investors in I-One-I Holdings, one of the shareholders of Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd., the operator of the Sewol ferry, the elder Mr. Yoo, age 73, does not own any shares, direct or indirect, of Chonghaejin nor is he involved in the company's management.  He has devoted his last several years exclusively to his artistic endeavors.

"Mr. Yoo's artistic photography is exhibited and marketed by Ahae Press, Inc.," said Michael Ham, who is the Managing Director. "Mr. Yoo does not have any involvement in the management or day-to-day operations of Chonghaejin Marine Co. I am dismayed at the media reports linking him to the Sewol incident and suggesting that he is directly responsible for this tragedy. These claims cannot be further from the truth. I know that he has been spending every single day of the past four to five years focusing on his photography work."

The Yoo sons are also deeply saddened and concerned about those hurt in this major tragedy, as reflected in the statement they issued last week in Korea through Attorney Son Byoung-gi, the legal representative of I-One-I Holdings:  "We and our families would like to express our deep sorrow," and confirm a commitment and understanding to help ease the "mental shock, pain, anguish and rage of the families of the victims and the missing passengers," Mr. Son stated.

While the Korean authorities investigating the ferry tragedy have issued a travel ban for 30 to 40 officials associated with Chonghaejin ownership, including members of the Yoo family, this blanket approach is standard for investigations by Korean regulators.

Ahae Press stated that it wishes that all efforts be devoted to both helping and honoring the victims of this tragedy, and that it is concerned inaccurate media reporting has diverted this focus, turning it into an undeserved attack against AHAE, his character and his credentials as an artist.

Mr. Ham noted that "AHAE's work brings much pride to his country. I have witnessed the substantial emotional impact his art has had on the hundreds of thousands of visitors who have attended his exhibitions. I have read countless notes and letters from visitors expressing their enthusiasm and love toward his photographs."

AHAE, which means "child" in old Korean language, has exhibited his photography recently at a pavilion in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, hosted by the Louvre Museum. He is also the first Korean artist ever to have been invited to exhibit his artworks at the Palace of Versailles.

Ahae Press expressed concern that unwarranted accusations have been made by the Korean media questioning AHAE's standing as an artist, and unfairly challenging the value of his art.

Prof. Milan. Knizak, director general of the National Gallery in Prague from 1999 to 2011, and currently a professor at Prague's Academy of Fine Arts, issued a statement noting the importance and value of AHAE's work, saying: "AHAE is a remarkable artistic personality... AHAE in his photographs brings plain, unadorned observation of reality, trying not to deform anything he sees."

"After a series of exhibitions and presentations in a few European and American art museums and galleries, his art became famous," said Prof. Knizak. "Today, AHAE belongs to a very few Korean artists widely known, one of them being my old friend and colleague Nam June Paik.  AHAE's prices move on reasonable levels and never jumped too high. This is also a sign of AHAE's strength, dignity, and humbleness. Korea should be proud of people like AHAE."

Further support for the importance and genuine value of AHAE's art comes from Mike von Joel, Editor-in-Chief of State Magazine, the largest circulation art and photography magazine based in London.

"AHAE has recently completed an exhibition program that began modestly in Prague under the auspices of one of the Czech Republic's leading curators, museum director, critic and artist [and] culminated with a major exhibition in Paris under the umbrella of the Louvre with a personal citation by the Director of the Louvre, Mr. Henri Loyrette," Mr. von Joel stated.

"It has apparently been claimed that these were somehow 'bogus' exhibitions and the result of AHAE's associates 'buying' favours with these organizations," he stated. "No artist, however exalted, can 'bribe' a historical and world renowned institution such as the Louvre. Ask the simple question: why would the Louvre jeopardize its centuries old reputation for any individual that happened to offer financial inducements? It is an organ of the French State and dedicated to superior works of art across all disciplines. The sole reason AHAE enjoyed a collaboration with this august institution was on the basis of merit – supported by the opinion of a number of eminent critics who have witnessed the development of AHAE photographic works over the last three years or so... I am personally appalled at the grotesque distortions being aimed at the artist AHAE all of which appear to be completely fabricated and without foundation."

Ahae Press noted that some other media reports, including those that inaccurately state that Mr. Yoo is "the de facto owner" of the ferry company, have dredged up past events that serve only to divert everyone from what should be a singular focus on helping those hurt by this tragedy. For instance, recent media reports have brought back painful memories from 1991 to Mr. Yoo when he was the undeserved focus of a frenzied media circus, and then subsequently fully exonerated, showing the media reports were speculative and inaccurate.

The irresponsible news reports at that time speculatively associated Mr. Yoo, who was then the head of the Semo Corporation, with a major mass suicide scandal related to a religious cult. Korean authorities thoroughly investigated the incident and determined that Mr. Yoo had no link to the mass suicide. But the media attacks left a painful and lasting impression on the Korean public, which has been further exacerbated by the reports from this past week, many of which repeated the inaccurate and unsubstantiated reports of more than 20 years ago.

As aiding the victims and their families must be the paramount concern and focus, Ahae Press is committed to being vigilant in providing accurate information to the media, so that further inaccurate media reports will not divert focus away from the urgent needs of those harmed in this tragedy as well as their families.

Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 17, 2014, 07:27:43 AM
There are Infinite Possibilities in the World of AHAE (http://ahaenews.com/18)
Henri Loyrette / Director, Louvre Museum, Paris (2001 - 2013)
Quote
There are times in our lives when serendipity accelerates events and the exceptional can occur. In September last year, I sat next to the acclaimed designer Guy Oliver, who was the guest of a mutual friend, at a lunch in Malaysia. He told me about an artist who had created a grand experiment, taking one million photographs in two years. What is more remarkable than this unprecedented feat is that the photographs were taken, and continue to be taken, from a single window.

The photographer Ahae (which means “child” in ancient Korean) has faithfully captured his vision of a landscape carefully preserved and protected for the last two decades. He invites us to see the extraordinary in the apparently ordinary. A change in light or a change in the weather can make an object appear quite different. The same water surface can resemble rock or a pool of mercury, the silhouette of a bird caught in the sunlight like a delicate drawing.

If you look very carefully at these images you will recognise the shape of a tree or the personality of a bird, each intimately known by the artist through the changing seasons, every minute of every day (the world in a grain of sand, if you will), but something that demonstrates the beauty and diversity of our world if only we take the time to stop and look.

Technology is something that should not be overlooked here—some of the images you will see were only made possible by the very latest advances in photography, allowing pictures to be reproduced on a grand scale, such as the impressive light boxes that are 5 metres high by 10 metres wide.

There are infinite possibilities in the world of Ahae, and it is my sincere hope that you will enjoy this exhibition of his work, exceptionally hosted by the Louvre.

March 2012

South Korea Can Be Proud of an Artist Like AHAE (http://ahaenews.com/70)
Quote
Laurent Bayle / Chairman / Philharmonie de Paris (http://www.philharmoniedeparis.com/en/a-word-from-the-president-of-the-philharmonie)
Paris – April 27, 2014

I have directed the Cité de la Musique since 2001 and the Salle Pleyel since 2006. I have been chairman of the board of directors of the Philharmonie de Paris since 2006 as well.

I discovered Ahae’s photographs on the occasion of the exhibition held by the Louvre Museum in 2012. I was immediately struck by the universality of the themes dealt with – the passage of time, its mutations, the contrasts of nature… – and the feeling of quietude emerging from a search for perfection and ascesis: a quietude matured by experience and artisanal know-how.

The same feeling of artistic mastery gripped me later when I attended the inauguration of the exhibition last year at the Palace of Versailles. Having gained more thorough knowledge of Ahae’s art in the meantime through some remarkable books and catalogues retracing his career and reproducing his photographs with infinite care, I was more easily able to apprehend the different temporal spaces that intermingle in his work. I also had occasion to read some very interesting criticisms by specialists at major international periodicals, both French and European, who made the case for his artistic credibility far better than I ever could.

Meanwhile I had become acquainted with Ahae’s son, Keith Yoo. We soon shared musical moments. I also took him on a tour of the construction site of the Philharmonie de Paris, designed by the architect Jean Nouvel and located in the Parc de la Villette near the Cité de la Musique, which unfolds around a large symphony hall and numerous educational spaces. Keith showed great interest in the project, especially the intention of opening up classical music to young people and promoting today’s composers. Our cultural affinity and our closeness with musicians as talented as those of the London Symphony Orchestra led us to imagine that an Ahae exhibition could be held in the Philharmonie’s large public reception galleries and that several concerts in relation to nature and its artistic representations would give rise to a fruitful crossing of themes.

As was the case for the Louvre and Versailles exhibitions, the preparation of the project left nothing to chance. It has gradually taken shape over these past months around a shared desire to identify the most suitable approach, to make the best use of the setting, and to fit into the proposed spaces with harmony. I can bear witness that Keith displayed the utmost artistic exactingness and that his desire always to seek out the most apposite solution comes from a deep honesty and humility with respect to art and the public. These qualities are the foundation that allowed us to establish a relationship of trust.

In this difficult period of communication tied to the terrible drama of the Sewol ferry, I will not express myself on the manner in which Ahae and his art are perceived in South Korea as I am not familiar with that country’s social and cultural realities. On the other hand, certain commentaries emanating from French sources, isolated but relayed via the Internet, have questioned the legitimacy of the two exhibitions at the Louvre and Versailles on the pretext that these initiatives would never have come about without the quid pro quo of patronage by Ahae Press. Behind such accusations one has to read the denunciation of a cultural world that is supposedly complicit with market forces in promoting artists who are intrinsically undeserving.

The truth is quite different and, as is often the case, simpler to understand. I am not a specialist of the plastic arts, but I do have confidence in the judgment of the directors and curators of the Louvre, of the Palace of Versailles and of other similarly prestigious venues in Europe where Ahae’s exhibitions have been held with success. I also give credit to the numerous detailed, well-argued commentaries of the newspapers and press reviews that have favorably reported on his work. This is why the perspective of a partnership between eye and ear, between the works of Ahae and the less tangible ones of the creators of music immediately attracted my interest and I can say today that this project has been a source of stimulation for me over the course of the past few months.

I am proud of the dialogue that I have had with Keith Yoo in these months and I think that South Korea can be proud that an artist like Ahae conveys to the entire world artistic and humanistic values that rest on universal foundations.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 17, 2014, 07:29:42 AM
작가 아해에 관하여: 밀란 크니작 교수 (프라하 국립미술관 총관장 (1999 - 2011)) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a4pe25hWss#)

Korea Should Be Proud of People like AHAE (http://ahaenews.com/95)
Quote

Professor Milan Knížák / General Director, National Gallery, Prague (1999 - 2011) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milan_Kn%C3%AD%C5%BE%C3%A1k)
From 1999 to 2011, I worked as the Director General of the National Gallery in Prague (which is one of the oldest Museums of Art, founded in 1796) and I was honored to organize a retrospective exhibition of the Korean artist AHAE, which was very successful.

I also put together an international team of specialists and created a representative publication showing the richness of AHAE’s personality titled the BOOK ON AHAE / So simple, so beautiful, so perfect published by KANT, 2012).

He is not only a photographer and poet but also an inventor, entrepreneur, scientist, philanthropist, ecologist and sportsman. But first and foremost, he is a remarkable artistic personality.

I want to emphasize his philanthrophy. I know many concrete cases where he has helped people to survive. In fact, his main goal is helping people to reach a full and rich life. And he does it with a great effort.

In his photographs, AHAE brings plain, unadorned observation of reality, trying not to deform anything he sees. The only personal feeling he adds to this is wonderment, and wonderment is something that cannot be found in contemporary art. Ahae is very unique with his purity.

After a series of exhibitions and presentations in a few European and American art museums and galleries his art became famous. Today Ahae belongs to a group of very few Korean artists who are widely known. One of them was my old friend and colleague Nam June Paik.

AHAE’S photographs are accepted as part of our global culture, but they didn’t become fashionable like (unfortunately) some of the objects of contemporary arts. AHAE’s artwork prices are valued at a reasonable level and never jumped too high. This is also a sign of AHAE’s strength, dignity and humbleness.

Korea should be proud of people like AHAE.

His personality is visible, high-minded but with deep touches of humility and revence for everything and everybody.

Professor Milan Knížák

General Director, National Gallery, Prague (1999 – 2011)

The AHAE Exhibition Held At Our Museum was Entirely Based Upon the Legitimacy of His Art and Nothing More (http://ahaenews.com/67)
Quote

Milan Knížák / General Director, National Gallery, Prague (1999 - 2011)
This letter is offered to correct inaccurate statements that are being made concerning the Korean artist, AHAE, by the Korean press, and others, regarding his integrity and the value of his art.

I am extremely proud of the fact that I was privileged to discover AHAE in my role and capacity as Director General of the National Gallery in Prague, one of the oldest Museums of Art, founded in 1796. (I am currently a professor at Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts.) I served as the Director General of the National Gallery of Prague for over a decade, from 1999 to 2011.

It was during my tenure that I discovered AHAE, and his unique work and perspective. I was fortunate and honored to be able to organize a very successful exhibition of his art, along with a representative publication that was published thereafter by KANT, 2012.

AHAE was an unknown artist when I first came in contact with his photographs. When I first viewed his work I thought it they were just normal images of nature. However, as I started to look closer and closer I began to see things that I didn’t catch the first time. These feelings continued to stay with me and I felt that the photographs contained a kind of magic to them.

I made the decision (not only me but also my staff – a team of curators of modern and contemporary art collection under the guidance of section director Professor Tomáš Vlček) to host his exhibition at the National Gallery based on the impact his art had on me and that AHAE’s work had something special to them and deserved the opportunity to be seen by the world. This decision I made was independent from any discussion of a donation or conditions on hosting AHAE and his works.

While I say this with all humility, it is the duty and role of an established art museum to discover new artists and talents, and bring their visions and work to light. As a museum director, that was my goal and job—in bringing to light the perspective and vision of AHAE through his photography renowned the world over now.

Those who would seek to denigrate his art, or the value of his enterprise, know nothing of the art world and are ignorant of the true worth and talent of AHAE, whose renown is attributable to his talent and hard work.

Those who would also profess to denigrate the great museums of the world with base comments such as that they exhibit just for pay, know nothing of how art museums operate.

I am greatly bothered by the inaccurate reporting by the Korean media and others, daring to impugn AHAE’s integrity and artistic talent. There is absolutely no truth to any suggestion that either AHAE or the Art museum created his exhibition only because of a donation. Great museums do not operate as such. The AHAE exhibition held at our museum was entirely based upon the legitimacy of his art and nothing more.

I Invited AHAE to Present a New Set of Photographs Taken From the Same Window at the Palace of Versailles (http://ahaenews.com/24)
Catherine Pégard / President of the Palace of Versailles

작가 아해에 관하여: 카트린 페가르 (베르사유 궁 관장) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipPVskIJYGM#)
Quote
I remember my first meeting with the son of the Korean artist Ahae during the 2012 Louvre exhibition inauguration in the Jardin des Tuileries, at the invitation of Henri Loyrette. Mr. Yoo used simple words, filled with admiration, to describe his father’s unique work. He spoke about his own mission to reveal that work to people today who—caught up in the frenzy of modern-day life—do not have the time to stop and discover the world from a single window.

“Extraordinary in the ordinary,” Henri Loyrette said with the acuity of language that over the past twelve years has accompanied the strength of his choices made at the helm of the Louvre Museum.

From the same window, from dawn to dusk, every day of the year, Ahae embraces the world, and it is the infinitely small that provides the immensity of the landscape he offers us. And here, these seemingly insignificant details paint an entire fresco. Behind the modesty of the photographer’s gesture lies the extreme sophistication of poetic thought. The instant that blends with eternity.

This year, I invited Ahae to present a new set of photographs taken from the same window at the Palace of Versailles. The scenography designed by Guy Oliver at the Orangerie allows us to observe the unexpected beauty of Ahae’s world as the hours and seasons pass: “The extraordinary within the ordinary.”

This year, history calls on us to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of André Le Nôtre. Ahae’s exhibition takes place—with a certain irony that is not unknown to him—during this year we are dedicating to the gardener of the King. Indeed, Ahae embodies his antithesis. While Le Nôtre dominates nature and molds it to suit the King’s will, Ahae lets himself be swept up into it, in all of its forms. On the other side of the world, from his own room, Ahae illustrates the words of Marcel Proust: “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

And I have the pleasure of inviting you on this voyage. I would like to thank Keith Yoo for making it possible. Magical.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 17, 2014, 01:38:55 PM
And now back to reality:

Prosecution seeks warrant to detain sunken ferry owner (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/16/64/0302000000AEN20140516002852315F.html)
Quote
Prosecutors said Friday they sought a court warrant to detain the de facto owner of a passenger ferry that sank off the southwest coast last month for disobeying prosecution summons. ... Judging that Yoo could flee or destroy evidence, the prosecution office asked a district court to issue the warrant to detain him for questioning. ...

The prosecution office said if Yoo once again fails to appear at a court hearing that is to decide whether to issue the warrant, it will seek out other measures to detain the disgraced businessman. Prosecutors said they are considering forcibly entering a church retreat in Anseong, south of Seoul, where the mysterious owner is believed to be hiding.

Hundreds of worshipers belonging to the Evangelical Baptist Church, in which Yoo remain as an influential founding member, flocked to the retreat, arguing that the ongoing investigation is a religious persecution.

"It is difficult to understand that some of the followers are saying that the investigation is biased and religious persecution," said an investigator, requesting anonymity. "We will launch the investigation strictly in accordance with the law and principle."

The prosecution suspects that funds from members of the church were used in the business operations of Chonghaejin Marine and other affiliates allegedly belonging to Yoo. As to a new allegation that Yoo could have slipped out of the retreat already, the investigator said the prosecution office is trying its utmost to locate Yoo. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 17, 2014, 03:30:11 PM
More video testimonies (released this week) in support of Mr Yoo's artistic credibility (as though he doesn't have bigger problems):

작가 아해에 관하여: 앙리 루아레트 루브르 박물관 관장 (2001-2013) / 한불 상호교류의 해 프랑스측 집행위원장 (2015-2016) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv4dObyG6W0#)

Four of the testimonies have been uploaded to a Youtube account entitled "Truth The":
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn92F0gOs2OOcklRbHy0SOw
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 17, 2014, 04:28:59 PM
Related to the manslaughter charges filed against crew members: (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/05/14/2014051401887.html)
Quote
The crew of the ferry Sewol abandoned ship even as they saw two injured cooks on the floor, it was revealed Tuesday. The two cooks are still missing. ...

According to investigators, seven crew were waiting in the hallway in front of the engineers' cabins on the third floor. When they learned of the arrival of the rescue boats, they ran out on deck and were one of the first to be rescued. At the time, they saw two cooks on the floor, unable to move due to their injuries, but did not help them and left.

Two of them confessed that they saw the cooks but made no efforts to help them and four others witnessed the scene, investigators said.

And more on the gathering of members at the cult's compound: (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/05/15/2014051501308.html)
Quote
Hundreds of members of a cult led by Yoo Byung-eon, who also owns the compromised ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, are barricading a retreat owned by the sect south of Seoul against investigators.

The cult members gathered at the compound on Tuesday, when prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant for Yoo's eldest son Dae-gyun (44) after he failed to show up for questioning.

They left the compound Tuesday morning but returned in droves on Wednesday, with numbers swelling from around 200 to 800, according to police. As of Wednesday night, around 400 remained in the compound, singing hymns and holding prayer meetings. They packed blankets and instant noodles to prepare for a drawn-out siege, and some were carrying suitcases.

A staffer at the compound said, "The rally will not end soon. More followers will converge." ...

And more on the actress caught up in all this: (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/05/08/2014050801980.html)
Quote
Veteran Soap Actress Fired Over Ferry Disaster Links
Jeon Yang-ja Jeon Yang-ja
The fallout from the ferry disaster last month is becoming increasingly bizarre and has now cost a veteran soap actress her job.

Jeon Yang-ja is suspected of being close to the dubious de facto owner of the ferry operator, Yoo Byung-eon, who is also the founder of a religious cult.

Due to this unfortunate association, Jeon has been fired from MBC's daily soap "Shining Romance." MBC in a press release on Wednesday said Jeon's recorded appearances will only be aired until next week.

Prosecutors plan to summon Jeon because she is registered as the owner of the cult's headquarters and head of two of Yoo's businesses, Kukje Video & Film Production and Norunja Shopping.

Prosecutors believe Jeon is a key witness in charges brought against Yoo and his two sons. She has already been banned from traveling overseas.

The two companies run by Jeon are separately under investigation for embezzlement, misappropriation and tax evasion.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 18, 2014, 01:22:14 AM
Just when I thought it couldn't get weirder, here's the symphony:
http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/news/2798 (http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/news/2798)
http://www.ahaeproducts.com/shop-by-product-type/media/michael-nyman-through-the-only-window-cd.html (http://www.ahaeproducts.com/shop-by-product-type/media/michael-nyman-through-the-only-window-cd.html)

Quote
News - Nyman Symphony No 6 premiere

Friday, September 06, 2013
On September 8 the London Symphony Orchestra will premiere a new orchestral work by Michael Nyman, Symphony No 6 ‘Ahae’. The composer will conduct the performance, which takes place at The Royal Opera of the Palace of Versailles, Paris. The symphony in four movements represents the four seasons in nature as depicted by the artist Ahae in his photographic work “Through My Window”. The piece will be performed to mark the end of an exhibition of wildlife photographs taken by the South Korean industrialist, known simply as Ahae. Several hundred of the 2.6 million images taken by Ahae have been on display; all photographs were taken from a first-floor window of Ahae’s home near Seoul, which he rarely leaves.

The new symphony is part of a major series of symphonies that Nyman is composing which are intended for premiere over the next two years in celebration of his 70th birthday. Symphony No 6 is due to be recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra for release at a later date.

Michael's music, which is quite nice, can be heard in this video. Correction: the music features a chamber piece Michael was commissioned to write for one of Ahae's exhibition.
AHAE EXHIBITIONS (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybuvc5W9-8A#)

Perhaps the music is helping Mr. Yoo relax during these troubled times.

The actual score for the symphony can be viewed here: http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/composer/work/49006 (http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/composer/work/49006)

And a little more on the chamber piece, including excerpts from the score: (http://www.musicroom.com/se/id_no/01063210/details.html?kbid=1180&sub=product)
Quote
Description
Score commissioned by Mr. Keith H. Yoo to accompany the exhibition of Photography 'De Ma Fenetre' by Korean artist Ahae, held at the Jardin des Tuileries, Musee du Louvre, June 27th - August 26th 2012 and premiered at a Gala dinner in the exhibition pavillion on June 25th 2012.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 18, 2014, 02:11:52 PM
A little more on the standoff between authorities and cultists: (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157343.html)
Quote
Yoo Byung-eun, owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, defied the prosecution’s summons Friday, prompting prosecutors to seek an arrest warrant.

Hundreds of followers of Salvation Sect, a religious cult led by Yoo, guarded the gate of Geumsuwon, a retreat in Anseong.  Investigators suspect he is in the premises. Yoo, 73, was supposed to appear for questioning over the April 16 ferry sinking at the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office at 10 a.m., but didn’t show up.

Yoo’s followers claim the investigation into Yoo and his family is tantamount to religious suppression, saying the Coast Guard is responsible for the deaths of the ferry passengers, not Yoo or Chonghaejin Marine. ...

''We are considering raiding Geumsuwon to secure the custody of Yoo and his son. But we are concerned about the possible confrontation with members of Yoo’s religious group,’’ a prosecution official said. ''However, despite all the difficulties, we will mobilize all possible resources to detain the Yoos.’’ ...

The members even vowed to die as martyrs against the law enforcement authorities if they try to forcibly enter their holdout. Nearly 1,000 members of the religious group have gathered at Geumsuwon and stacked up water and other supplies for the extended confrontation with the prosecution.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 19, 2014, 02:00:02 AM
Nothing really new, but here is a summary of events to date and the current stand-off: (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989292)
Quote
Multiple local media outlets reported that investigators were considering forcing their way into a religious facility where Yoo and his elder son may be hiding, but they didn’t as of press time.

Police traditionally refrain from forcing their way into religious establishments because it can provoke complaints of religious persecution. ...
No wonder so many organised crimes groups (JMS (http://www.jmscult.com) and Jungshim/Qi Wellness (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?board=101.0) in particular) pose as religions here >:(

I'd be surprised if Yoo and his son are hiding there. I can't imagine why they, with so much wealth, would hide in the most obvious place with a bunch of religious fanatics threatening suicide as opposed to, say, some island near Tahiti.
Or perhaps they're hiding with their friends at the Louvre?
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 19, 2014, 04:51:56 AM
Apparently www.god.com (http://www.god.com) is owned by Ahae^^. That's quite a url to have. I bet there are about a million cults that would love to own that :) The poor JMS cult had to settle for http://god21.net/ (http://god21.net/)
Here's the source and relevant part: (http://www.thestar.com.my/News/World/2014/04/24/Insight--From-Godcom-to-photography-Korea-ferry-founder-has-diverse-interests/)
Quote
SEOUL (Reuters) - The head of the South Korean family that operated the ferry which sank last week is a billionaire once jailed for fraud, a photographer who has held an exhibition at the Louvre under a pseudonym and the founder of a church which owns the website www.god.com (http://www.god.com).

At other times in his chequered past, Yoo Byung-un, in his 70s, has been a bankrupt and an inventor of household and health-related devices. He was investigated and cleared of complicity in the suicides of 32 members of his church in 1987. ...

Yoo was investigated in 1987 when 32 members of his church were found dead, bound and gagged in a factory near Seoul. He was not charged. Yoo denied that he had any involvement in the deaths in a magazine interview after his release from jail in the fraud case. "I feel really insulted just to think that people link me to the accident," Yoo said in the 1999 interview with monthly magazine Chosun.

"Do you know how I feel? I feel like I'm a woman living in a small village and one day you suddenly got sexually assaulted. This is really unfair but you can't talk about it to anyone in our (Korean) culture and there'll be just rumours getting out of control that you are the one who screwed up."
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 19, 2014, 05:20:56 AM
More music for AHAE:

http://ilaneshkeri.com/works/Ahae.asp (http://ilaneshkeri.com/works/Ahae.asp)
Quote
Through My Window: A Tone Poem in Twelve Parts
MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF AHAE

Ilan has composed a symphonic work to be performed at a series of two outdoor concerts celebrating the 'Through My Window' exhibition of photographs by the artist AHAE.

Ilan was asked to compose a piece inspired by the artist's photographs, but whilst writing he became fascinated by the artist's process. In 3 years, he has taken 2 million photographs from 1 window.

The photographs will be on display in a specially built pavilion in the Jardin des Tuileries at the Louvre in Paris from the 27th of June.

The concerts will take place in the gardens next to the exhibition on the 3rd and 4th of July. The concerts are free and there is public seating and standing at the back - tickets available at the exhibition. This is the first time an outdoor exhibition and concert has been held at this location.

Ilan commented on his work: "I was inspired to compose a Tone Poem that depicts the artist’s day at work, not just his photos. I wanted the listener to be there with the artist, waiting patiently by the window and then being drawn into the moment when the subject he was photographing appeared. So the piece is made up of dramatic representations of the subjects (deer, birds, grass, clouds), interspersed with intimate melodies that describe the artist’s experience of sitting by the window from dawn until dusk throughout the seasons of the year."
Ilan, do the maths, 2 million photos in 3 years. That's a rate of 1.2 a minute for 3 years assuming no naps or toilet breaks or cult leading activities. All from the same window? In Seoul? No one in Seoul has views worth not going to the bathroom for 3 years.

http://www.jessicadannheisser.com/ahae-through-my-window/ (http://www.jessicadannheisser.com/ahae-through-my-window/)
Quote
Jessica is orchestrating a new large-scale work by the composer Ilan Eshkeri that was commissioned to accompany an exhibition of photography by Korean artist AHAE. The music will play alongside the exhibition in a specially-constructed pavilion outside the Louvre, Paris. The music is being recorded at Abbey Road Studios in advance so hat the public may listen to the recording as they view the works, and in addition there will be two concerts of the music play by full symphony orchestra outside the pavilion on the 3rd & 4th of July.
One of Mr Yoo's sons makes an appearance near the end of this video of the performance. I hope he enjoyed the concert; I don't think he'll be attending any more.
Ilan Eshkeri - Ahae Paris Concert (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6WcT_VgjQQ#)

Again, nice music; shame about the patron.

A couple of photos from the Ilan's performance. Wow, that's some photography exhibit:
(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/2014-05-19_15-46-18_zps5b6f1efb.jpg)

This one is interesting. It doesn't look like it was taken from the famous window:
(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/2014-05-19_15-47-01_zps41298e55.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 19, 2014, 08:51:05 AM
Tensions escalate.  (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157424.html)I'd been wondering where this window was that Mr Yoo is said to have taken millions of photos from. That question is answered in this article, and that answer is the cult's compound where the stand off is happening. Interesting, very interesting.
Quote
ANSEONG, Gyeonggi Province ― Tension is escalating in Geumsuwon, the stronghold of the Evangelical Baptist Church, as prosecutors are expected to raid it to arrest Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol.

Hundreds of followers of the sect have assembled here to block prosecutors from entering in defiance of law enforcement against those who are allegedly involved in irregularities related to the operation of the vessel.

The Evangelical Baptist Church unveiled the Geumsuwon compound to the media, Sunday, amid the prosecution’s imminent raid to capture Yoo, the former Semo Group chairman, who is believed to be hiding there.

The prosecution has obtained the court’s approval to detain Yoo, and is seeking an arrest warrant for him. The court will hold a hearing for the warrant Tuesday. Once it is issued, the prosecution is likely to raid the premises.

Lee Jae-oak, the chairman of Hemato-Centric Life Foundation, who is close to Yoo, said that while there are many different opinions about the whereabouts of Yoo among the followers, he personally believes Yoo is staying somewhere in the 2.5-million-square-meter compound.

“Yoo took photos here for four years. I think he is still here,” said Lee in a press conference held in front of an assembly hall built with metal panels. Yoo took more than 3 million photos between 2009 and 2013 in one of the rooms in the building.

Lee said that the Salvation Sect and the Evangelical Baptist Church aren’t the same group, and are protecting Geumsuwon from the prosecution for different reasons. The Salvation Sect regards Yoo as a mentor so it tries to protect him. The Evangelical Baptist Church does not want the prosecution to enter and search the premises because it is a church.

The sect was formed in 1960s, and some members set up the church in the 1980s. Some residents living and working inside Geumsuwon follow either of them or both. Yoo belongs to the sect, but not the church, Lee said.

The devotees from both the bodies continued to form human barricades for six days in a row. They sat in chairs behind the metal gate and sang hymns including “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” and “Fight Against the devil.” They occasionally stood up with placards and shouted slogans condemning the prosecution and the government.

“Be prepared for bloodshed. Things cannot get worse. We will protect with our lives. In case of bloodshed, the prosecution will be responsible. If we lose the church, we lose everything,” they shouted, punching the air with their fists.

Unlike the tense atmosphere at the entrance, the inside of the Geumsuwon was tranquil. While known as training facilities for the Salvation Sect, Geumsuwon consists mostly of hills and farms. Followers of the Salvation sect and Evangelical Baptist Church form a community here, living and working together.

The sect members guided journalists through fish farms, a dairy farm, and a narrow path in a bushy hill to the assembly hall with Yoo Byung-eun’s photography studio. Members said that they farm various fish including eels, catfish and carp and earn an annual revenue of some 100 million won while 79 dairy cows produce just enough milk for members of the sect and church.

While Lee said Yoo is no longer religious and is only a mentor to the devotees regarding their living and lifestyle, his influence prevailed in Geumsuwon. Park Young-hwan, a team leader of the dairy farm, said, “Chairman Yoo told us not to feed the cows antibiotics, so we have researched for methods to grow them without antibiotics.” ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 19, 2014, 12:47:20 PM
This article mentions messianic claims and repeats the claim that most of ferry company's staff are members of Yoo's cult: (http://theinsidekorea.com/2014/05/ferry-disaster-arrest-warrant-sought-ferry-firm-owner/)
Quote
Jeong Dong-sub, a leader of a victims’ group of heretical sects’ and a former member of the Salvation Sect, said the cult members are likely to be faithful to their words that they will “stop the authorities with their lives.” He said in a radio interview that Yoo’s father-in-law likened him to Jesus, while some members actually think Yoo is God. ...

In another potential scandal, a former employee of Chonghaejin Marine told local media recently that the Sewol’s captain and over 90 percent of the company were members of the sect. He also claimed that the company forces the heretical religion onto nonbelievers.

If the claims turn out to be true, it can spark further criticism of the already embattled sect. The crew is facing criminal charges, with some charged with manslaughter. The investigation revealed that they abandoned the ship well before any of the passengers did while being fully aware the vessel was doomed.

The religious group, however, denied the allegations, saying only two members of the Sewol’s crew are its members.
Well I wonder which two those are. And that's actually a denial which is entirely consistent with the allegation that 90% of the company's staff, including the captain, are members of Yoo's cult.

There doesn't seem to be much material, in English anyway, online regarding Yoo's messiahship. That's not surprising since some messiahs are shy and keep such claims in house, but his owning www.god.com (http://www.god.com) is a pretty big hint.

Oops, I missed this little gem:
Quote
The Salvation Sect has refused to confirm whether Yoo was currently in the retreat, but claimed that his eldest son Dae-gyun was not there.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 19, 2014, 03:30:41 PM
Prosecutors issue warning to Yoo and sons: (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989337)
Quote
The Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office issued a stern warning to Yoo Byung-eun, the patriarch of the family who allegedly controls the company that operated the sunken Sewol ferry, saying that if he continues to disregard the rule of law and refuse his summons for questioning, the prosecution will make sure he and his sons face “the maximum legal penalty.”

Incheon prosecutors on a special investigation team at the Incheon office also said yesterday during an unexpected briefing that they would pursue Yoo and his sons “all the way to the end.”

The briefing is thought to have been prosecutors’ way of thwarting efforts by followers of a religious sect led by Yoo to paint the investigation as a persecution targeting the businessman and his church, the so-called Evangelical Baptist Church.

The warning against the Yoo family came two days after the 72-year-old ignored a summons by the prosecution Friday to come in for questioning over corruption and mismanagement allegations and the role he may have had in the ferry disaster. To press a defiant Yoo, the prosecutors requested a court to grant a pre-trial detention warrant for him, saying the tycoon could potentially flee or destroy evidence.

The court is scheduled to review the validity of the warrant request tomorrow. If the court grants the warrant, it is expected that prosecutors will raid a religious complex known as Geumsuwon in Anseong, Gyeonggi. The complex is the headquarters of the Christian sect led by Yoo.

Geumsuwon became a potential battleground over the past week as police and more than 1,000 believers confronted each other. Yoo is believed to be hiding in the facility, defying prosecutors’ summons.

The authorities have not attempted to penetrate the facility.

A senior prosecutor involved in the case told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday that, “We gave the Yoo family another chance because they have their rights as citizens. But we will have custody of him within this week no matter what.”

When asked about the sect’s claim that prosecutors are waging a crusade against their religion, the official responded, “We are enraged by their claim. After all, we respected Yoo as a leader of a religious sect, and ensured the freedom of their religion at a maximum level.”
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 20, 2014, 12:27:37 AM
Now this is a refreshing change. Not everyone bought into Ahae's manufactured reputation: (http://www.ateliervagabond.com/blog/2012/10/08/ahae-photo-exhibit-in-paris/#.U3lZ1vl_vTo)

Click the above link for the full piece. I'll just save my favorite bits here:
Quote
Paris at the time was bombarded with advertisements everywhere–on billboards, buses, in the métro, in newspapers and magazines. ...

As an artist and photographer seeing such a media and marketing blitz for an unknown, relatively inexperienced but wealthy photographer such as Ahae inevitably leaves a bitter taste. ...

Knowing that there are so many young (and not so young artists) who have worked tirelessly and with passion to develop their own powerful work without managing to successfully break into the art world it can feel as the rich businessman was able to step to the front of the line to show work that is ultimately not special in any way.  That the Louvre should have signed up for this project is likewise a disappointment.  I’m not naive, I understand that museums are expensive undertakings and that one can’t look a gift horse in the mouth.  I suspect that the museum received a considerable cash payment to allow Ahae to stage his special exhibition while receiving the stamp of approval of listing his exhibition as taking place at the Musée du Louvre. ...

Clearly Ahae worked with the best equipment money could buy while shooting between one and two million images (is this really a number one wants to reveal with pride?!) in his three years preparing the exhibition (which had previously been exhibited in Florence, Venice, New York City, Moscow, London and Korea). ...

The entrance to the show was free (I wasn’t going to pay any money from what I had already seen on the internet!) but the little book shop clearly was included to try to recuperate some of the investment to put up the show:  One of the catalogues for the show was priced up to 215 euros ($280) and just 80 grams of organic tea (one of Ahae’s businesses) were priced between 45 and 85 euros! ...

Update:

Ahae has programmed another show in the Paris region, this time at Versailles during the Summer of 2013 with a similar propaganda blitz. For those who read French, I strongly encourage you to read this excellent exposé on Ahae by Bernard Hasquenoph: (Ahae à Versailles, le privilège de l’argent). (http://www.louvrepourtous.fr/Ahae-a-Versailles-le-privilege-de,763.html)

As you have already read above, I guessed at an exchange of money with the Louvre (and now Versailles) to allow Ahae not only to exhibit in these spaces but to claim that he is exhibiting at the Louvre and at Versailles (sites with significant cultural cachet!) but I had no idea to what degree these groups (and the same has undoubtedly happened in other major world capitals) have compromised their standards and, I believe, their principles. That Henri Loyrette, the director of the Louvre and Catherine Pégard, ex-journalist, wrote glowing  statements about Ahae’s work, and that two French art magazines devoted special out-of-series publications on Ahae is beyond belief. Can we read Connaissances des Arts or Beaux-Arts Magazine any more without wondering if a positive review was paid for? Should these magazines by obligated to announce in plain and clear words on the cover or at the top of an article when such have been paid for by an artist/gallery?
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 20, 2014, 12:35:13 AM
This piece about Ahae, while rather glowing (I realize I'm speaking with the benefit of hindsite), (http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-blog/carry-on/2012/8/10/photographer-ahae-adds-to-south-koreas-cultural-renaissance) does offer some more details on the thousand plus patents he said he has. There's a nice touch of skepticism too, which I of course like:
Quote
Ahea is an entrepreneur, inventor, designer, environmental activist, Taekwondo black-belt, exercise guru, painter, sculptor, poet, and photographer. He owns an environmentally-friendly multinational paint-and-resin conglomerate, two organic tea plantations, and a lavender farm in SoCal; in his free time, he used to design small ships that still cruise the Han River. By his own estimate, he holds over a thousand patents, for everything from home-improvement gizmos to anti-radiation pigments. He might be able to turn lead into gold. But Ahae’s somewhat schizophrenic bio hides a serious commitment to conservation, evidenced through his organic farms, eco-friendly businesses, and wildlife protection efforts.
And that wasn't all his bio hid ;)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 20, 2014, 02:50:56 AM
According to this site (May 14):  (http://onehallyu.com/index.php?/topic/63160-official-sk-sewol-ferry-news-thread/page-109) "A documentary program (RealStory Eye) which investigated the  Salvation Cult was stopped mid-air. Official cause is ‘erroneous editing’.(KO)"

And on the Salvation Sect's Wikipedia page: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvation_sect)
Quote
Recent findings by Korean investigators indicate the Salvationist movement may have been actively involved in promoting the popularized belief that beef imported to South Korea from the United States was infected with "mad cow disease." Apparently, Yoo Byung-eun — a leader of the Guwonpa ("Salvation") church and a controlling interest in shell companies operated by the church — encouraged thousands of Salvationists to fill the streets of Seoul during the mad cow protests in July and August, 2008.  Allegations have been made that Yoo encouraged his members to instigate and participate in the protests in an effort to force a monetary settlement from then-Korean President Lee Myung-pak — a payoff apparently never received by the church or its affiliated companies.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 20, 2014, 02:55:33 AM
From Ahae's Wiki: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahae)
Quote
In the late '80s, Yoo was the leader of a religious cult in Korea. In 1987, 32 members of his cult were found dead, bound and gagged. Yoo was investigated, but cleared of all charges and the mass death was ruled a suicide.

In addition, Yoo Byung-eun was known to practice a "legitimacy" campaign where he would arrange to have his photograph taken with Korean dignitaries, officials or large corporation leaders, and then would have his photograph printed in articles and publications implying "endorsement" by the pictured dignitaries. (This is a technique also known to have been used by Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God.) Yoo's photograph has been seen in poses with Korean figures such as former president Chun Doo-hwan and even U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 20, 2014, 04:27:42 AM
This is a couple of days old (May 17), but the headline is worth saving and worth a chuckle, and there's a video in the link.

Prosecutors wait for practical owner of ferry operator Yoo to voluntarily appear (http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=162527&category=2)
Quote
The ongoing investigation is now focusing on the de facto owner of the sunken ferry operator, Yoo Byung-eun.

The 73-year-old is suspected of malpractice, tax evasion, and the embezzlement of millions of dollars from company affiliates owned by him and direct members of his family.
This includes the operator of the Sewol-ho ferry, Chonghaejin Marine Company.
Huge sums of money from the debt-stricken ferry operator's revenues went straight to the Yoo family's pockets without any clear reason.

Prosecutors suspect this could have been one of the reasons why the ferry operator failed to invest enough money on safety and personnel management, which ultimately led the ferry to sink.

And from today (May 19), another reference to the window Yoo took 2.4 million photos from at a rate of one a minute, a cult member slips up, and a possible escape attempt:
http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=162546 (http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=162546)
Quote
The chairman of an affiliate of Semo Group, which controls Chonghaejin Marine Company, seemed to confirm that the practical owner of the Sewol-ho ferry is hiding at the headquarters of a religious sect led by the Yoo family in Geumsuwon, Gyeonggi-do province, south of Seoul. Later, he reversed himself.

Hemato-Centric Life chairman Lee Jae-ok said in a press briefing inside the compound on Sunday that Yoo might come out if his name were called.

"Yoo has taken pictures from that window over the past four years. He might come outside if I shouted his name."

But as the press continued to ask about Yoo's whereabouts, Lee reversed himself, saying he doesn't know where Yoo is. "The last time I saw him was about a week after the Sewol-ho ferry accident."

The briefing was held in a yard inside the compound, where Yoo has taken photos.
The religious sect opened some of the facilities to the press on Sunday, and asked that everything happening inside be made public. ...

Yoo is believed to be in hiding, after he failed to appear for questioning last Friday.
Recent reports that Yoo was trying to escape the compound in the car of a believer have prompted police to strengthen its surveillance of cars coming in and out of the facility.

Well there's certainly no shortage of news coverage. In my ten years following various Korean cults, I've never seen this kind of coverage. I think you'd have to go outside Korea to Waco Texas and Jonestown to see a cult get so much attention. Hopefully this already tragic story won't end the same way. The thought of members killing themselves over the police arresting their criminal leader.... I can't think of a less worthwhile cause, nor can I think of a strategy more doomed to fail, nor can I think of a strategy that screams "Yes, we're a cult" any louder. Violence is, however, often the result when a secretive criminal cult comes face to face with reality and the law.

Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 20, 2014, 06:09:22 AM
Well I guess Yoo is hiding in that compound, (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/05/19/2014051901167.html) and his cultists aren't doing him any favors:
Quote
Journalist Given Tour of Ferry Owner's Cult Compound

A cult led by ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon on Sunday showed journalists around part of the sect's compound in Anseong south of Seoul where he is believed to be hiding. But cult members refused them access to the main buildings in the sprawling 260,000 sq. m compound.

Reporters could only catch glimpses of the exterior of a building Yoo is said to have used as a studio and living quarters while he indulged in his hobby of photography from 2009 to 2013.


Cult members told them not to stray from the guided course and trailed those who broke away from the group. Five cult members then held a press conference on Sunday afternoon claiming that Yoo, an undischarged bankrupt, is not their leader and has no financial interests in the compound.

But when asked about Yoo's whereabouts, one member said, "I believe he is living inside" the compound. He claimed he saw Yoo inside the compound about a week after the sinking of the ferry disaster on April 16.

Around 3,000 sect members gathered at the compound on Saturday and around 1,700 on Sunday.
Gee, could he be hiding in the big building they wouldn't let the reporters enter? Smart hiding place, Ahae.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 20, 2014, 08:53:18 AM
A friend just offered this brief translation of the material on this French blog concerning Ahae's exhibitions (http://www.louvrepourtous.fr/Ahae-a-Versailles-le-privilege-de,763.html) at the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles:
Quote
(very briefly) article says that Ahae pays an overwhelming amount of money (sometimes undefined) to have his exposition reserved in some famous place (Louvre, L'Orangerie, Jardin des Tuileries). People questions about the talent of the photographer and his picture because of being too simple. And behind that, he makes a huge amount of money back from goodies (postal card, artbook, etc..) from souvenir shop (usually right behind exposition) and also from Magazine publishers.

Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 20, 2014, 09:00:41 AM
Yoo has another day to appear attend a court hearing: (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/19/62/0302000000AEN20140519007400315F.html)
Quote
Prosecutors are mulling over forcibly entering a church retreat to detain the de facto owner of a sunken ferry, as part of their investigation into corruption allegations surrounding the mysterious billionaire, sources said Monday.

Yoo Byung-eun -- an entrepreneur, artist, ex-convict and religious figure -- is believed to own Chonghaejin Marine Co., which operated the ferry Sewol that sank off the southwest coast last month.

If Yoo once again fails to appear at a court hearing on Tuesday that is to decide whether to issue an arrest warrant for him, investigators of the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office in the western port city of Incheon plan to enter the retreat where he is suspected to be hiding, the prosecution sources said. ...

   The prosecution office has already held a meeting with police, fire officials, and other government officials to discuss ways to enter the retreat amid growing fears of a possible confrontation with the worshippers, the sources said.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 20, 2014, 01:05:33 PM
In anticipation of some pretty hefty cult news over the next few days, I've begun the task of making some of the material here easier to find.
First step, and it's done, was to copy and paste all the AHAE material to its own thread. Here it is, the 1000th thread on my forum if the url is any indication:
http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=1000.0 (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=1000.0)

And it already includes some gems not yet posted in this thread.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 20, 2014, 10:52:34 PM
Park shows no mercy for Yoo (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157449.html)
I like the sound of that. Hopefully this might spur deeper investigations into other criminal cults, of which there are no shortage of.

Quote
President Park Geun-hye didn’t mention Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of Cheonghaejin Marine, the operator of the sunken ferry Sewol, by name.

However, her determination to bring the reclusive cult leader to justice was beyond doubt.

“Chonghaejin Marine was founded after acquiring Semo Shipping, a shipping unit of Semo Group, which went bankrupt in 1997,’’ Park said. “The company became insolvent with nearly 300 billion won in debt 17 years ago. Chonghaejin Marine was born after the court had written off 200 billion won of its debt. It was later sold back to its initial owner (Semo Group).’’

The President said the government will close companies that incur human casualties and financial losses while blindly seeking profits, stressing that it will take all the earnings back from them and use the money to compensate victims.

“We will find ways to trace not only assets owned by criminals, but also hidden property held by their family members and third parties,’’ she said.

“The government will ask the National Assembly to pass a special bill enabling the government to compensate victims in advance and collect money later from those responsible for criminal acts.’’

Analysts suspects that Chonghaejin Marine was able to secure a monopoly on the Incheon-Jeju ferry route, and received favors from the government, thanks to its collusive ties with officials, Park said.

“If people in power protect the shipping firm, we will find out who they are and bring them to justice. We will eradicate corruption throughout society so that human lives are not threatened again.’’

The President said she was willing to appoint a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of the Sewol disaster.

“The government will also set up a fact-finding team consisting of ruling and opposition party members, government officials and private-sector experts to look into all the suspicions of corruption and other irregularities concerning the sinking of the Sewol.’’

Park also strongly criticized Sewol Captain Lee Joo-seok and other crewmembers who neglected their duty of saving passengers by abandoning ship.

“Their actions are tantamount to murder. Some countries have sentenced those committing crimes costing many lives to hundreds of years in prison,’’ the President said.

“The government will toughen laws against people who damage human lives, and manufacture and sell substandard food items. I will make Korea a country where no lawbreakers realize profits, and criminals are held accountable for their actions.’’
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 21, 2014, 11:07:55 AM
Another big surprise: (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2014/05/20/0200000000AEN20140520007000315.html)
Quote
The de facto owner of a sunken ferry failed to appear at a court hearing Tuesday, prompting prosecutors to mull forcibly entering a church retreat to detain the mysterious millionaire.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 21, 2014, 11:36:44 AM
Earlier reports mentioned that seven phone calls were made between the crew and the headquarters of the company (reported to be 90% populated by cult members) before the crew abandoned ship. This jaw-dropping headline, if true, sheds light on what was said in those conversations:

South Korea Ferry Crew: We Were Ordered to Abandon Sinking Ship (http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/south-korea-ferry-disaster/south-korea-ferry-crew-we-were-ordered-abandon-sinking-ship-n88396)
Quote
A crew member on the sunken South Korean ferry said on Thursday she and her colleagues were "under command" to abandon ship while passengers were trapped on board.

The unidentified crew member spoke briefly to reporters on the way from court back into detention. She was wearing a surgical mask and a baseball cap with a jacket hood.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 21, 2014, 11:55:58 AM
The modifications that doomed the ferry enabled Ahae to exhibit (and obviously sell) his photos:

Yoo directed Sewol remodeling, testimony says (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989414)
Quote
Prosecutors have obtained a testimony stating that Yoo Byung-eun, the patriarch of the family that allegedly controls the sunken Sewol ferry operator, was in charge of restructuring the 6,825-ton vessel, reported the JoongAng Ilbo, citing a senior prosecutor.

The joint investigation team of police and prosecutors confirmed last Thursday that the overloading and remodeling of the ship compromised its ability to maintain stability during the time of the accident.

Chonghaejin Marine Company, the operator, carried out the remodeling between October 2012 and February 2013 to increase the Sewol’s number of passenger cabins by dividing the fourth deck into two floors. In the process of adding another floor, Chonghaejin raised the deck’s height by 50 centimeters (19.7 inches).

Ahn Gi-hyeon, a detained employee of Chonghaejin who was in charge of the refurbishment, reportedly testified that he carried out the expansion under the direction of Yoo.

He said that the newly built fifth floor was mainly used as an exhibition hall for photographs shot by the 73-year-old, while the fourth floor was turned into passenger cabins. ...

Prosecutors have had trouble proving Yoo’s involvement in Chonghaejin because he doesn’t hold an official position or shares. However, prosecutors managed to find evidence suggesting Yoo was he operator’s manager.

Earlier this month, prosecutors obtained an internal organization chart naming Yoo as president of the company after raiding the offices of Chonghaejin and its affiliates. They also found that Chonghaejin issued a company ID number for Yoo and discovered a pay stub that records a payment of 10 million won ($9,760) monthly over more than a year.

“Although Yoo is not a chief executive, we’ve concluded that he is the one who directs operation and execution of business based on evidence. In this case, he should bear the same responsibility as the chief executive,” said the source who refused to be identified because the investigation is ongoing.

Along with his alleged involvement, Yoo also faces corruption allegations, including tax evasion, embezzlement and illicit foreign trading. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 21, 2014, 12:19:21 PM
S Korea premier urges seizure of ferry family head's fortune (http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/s-korea-premier-urges/1113848.html)
Quote
South Korea's prime minister promised Tuesday to try and seize all assets held by the reclusive patriarch whose family runs the ferry operator of the ship which sank last month, killing hundreds.

Prosecutors last week asked for a court-issued arrest warrant after billionaire businessman Yoo Byung-eun failed to heed an official summons for questioning about corruption and his role in the ferry operator.

"The government should try and confiscate all his fortune," Prime Minister Chung Hong-won said in parliament.

He also said financial regulators would investigate Yoo's hidden assets for use in paying compensation to relatives of the ferry victims. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 21, 2014, 01:05:30 PM
Sewol owner may have fled church compound (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140520001596)
Quote
Prosecutors on Tuesday raised the possibility that Yoo Byung-eon, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, is hiding out at a residence of a member of the Evangelical Baptist Church, dubbed the Salvation Sect, which is allegedly led by the former chief of the now-defunct Semo Group.

The prosecution said that Yoo appears to have already escaped from Geumsuwon, the sect‘s headquarters in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, in a low-key manner. It alleged that he is residing at a follower’s house in Seoul.

Prosecutors form special team to track down Yoo Byung-eun (http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=162580)
Quote
Prosecutors looking for the elusive practical owner of the sunken Sewol-ho ferry say they will make all effort to bring him in by week's end.

In a briefing held Sunday, the leader of the Sewol-ho investigation task force said a special squad of more than 40 detectives would be formed to track Yoo Byung-eun down and arrest him. He said Yoo and his family have mocked the government and challenged authority in defying orders to come in for questioning.

The 73-year-old is suspected of tax evasion and embezzlement of millions of dollars from company affiliates owned by him and members of his family. Prosecutors believe his illegal actions contributed to the sinking of the Sewol-ho ferry. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 21, 2014, 02:28:18 PM
Strange premise - I guess the author means he's not your typical cult leader? Anyway, there are some interesting tidbits contained within that show how important Yoo is to his followers. How much he used the Bible to establish his personality cult is I think irrelevant.  And I like how members refer to Yoo as "The Chairman". Didn't they get the memo?

Yoo is not religious leader (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157465.html)
Quote
A clash looks inevitable as the prosecution bids its time to raid Geumsuwon, the stronghold of the Salvation Sect, to arrest Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken Sewol ferry.

Hundreds of Yoo's supporters are guarding the sprawling retreat, where Yoo is suspected to be hiding.

It may be easy to lump Yoo among phony religious leaders, who promote themselves as a messiah; but it appears to be more complicated.

The Salvation Sect, formed in the 1960s, is a divided group. The sect and the Evangelical Baptist Church aren't the same.  Some followers of the sect founded the church in the 1980s, and some did not join the latter. Yoo Byung-eun never did.

Steve Jeon, a former professor at an American university and a Salvation Sect member, said that followers have different opinions about protecting Yoo.

"Some people ask why they should protect him when he is not a church member. There are many different thoughts here. Some wonder why the chairman doesn't come out and face the prosecution. Some argue he doesn't have reason to do so when the media and prosecution are unfair," said Jeon.

The differences may be explained by the Salvation Sect being an amalgam of religion, livelihood, lifestyle and community.

"People must think Yoo is the religious leader judging by followers blocking the entrance to protect him. The followers gathered at the entrance don't think the same. Many aren't connected to Yoo through religion, but have their lives linked to Yoo," said Lee Jae-oak, chairman of Hemato-Life Centric Foundation and a former auditor of a Semo Group affiliate.

Lee said that the followers guarding the gate consist largely of two groups ― the mothers' society within the Salvation Sect and members of the Evangelical Baptist Church.

Many members of the mothers' society earn their living as sales people at Dapanda, a distributor affiliate of the Semo Group. The boycott of the group and anger against the sect has hit Dapanda's sales as well as employees' reputations.

"Some complain business came to a halt, while some demand compensation for the prices of the photography works by Yoo Byung-eun they bought having crashed. It's a very complicated situation," Lee said.

"We will lose everything when we lose the church," shouted the followers blocking the entrance, and the slogan may not be an exaggeration for them.


In the meantime, the Evangelical Baptist Church members are trying to protect Geumsuwon as a religious facility rather than guarding Yoo.

"Why should prosecutors come here again? They have already searched the church and seized documents," said a follower guarding the gate. He referred to the prosecution's raid of the Evangelical Baptist Church's main Seoul branch in Yongsan-gu.

Lee added that the mothers' society and the Baptist church have different opinions on how to deal with the media, so ended up issuing two statements last Thursday. Cho Gye-woong, the spokesperson for the Baptist church, for example, read only the church's statement.

Many followers of the Salvation Sect seem to be loyal not only for religious reasons but also because their livelihood and lifestyle now depend on it.

Geumsuwon epitomizes such a connection. The compound isn't just a religious facility, but devotees live there and do fish farming, raise dairy cows and grow vegetables to feed themselves and earn money. They consume what they produce, and some make money by selling the produce to followers or to general consumers.

Park Young-hwan, a team leader of Sunyoung Dairy Farm located within Geumsuwon, said that 79 dairy cows produce just enough milk for church members and only a little gets sold to outsiders.

Each follower barricading the entrance was given an egg and two candies as snack. "It's an organic egg," said a follower, offering one to this reporter. The candies branded "Sweet Green & Green" were made of green tea powder produced on a tea farm in South Jeolla Province owned by the church.

And their principles in pursuing the businesses have been strongly influenced by Yoo. Cho Pyeong-soon, a Salvation Sect follower who takes care of the fish farms, said that they grow catfish because Yoo has fond memories of catching catfish in his childhood.

The atmosphere at Geumsuwon is indicative of a closely knit community rather than a religious facility built on Yoo's personality cult. Lee said that Yoo is no longer religious and stopped delivering sermons a long time ago to focus on running businesses.

Lee said that he got to know Yoo while talking about medicine, not religion. "The chairman doesn't understand the bible religiously. He reads it to understand health and history," Lee said.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 22, 2014, 12:21:58 AM
Sewol’s owner still on the run (http://http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989474)
Quote
The prosecutors initially considered forcing their way into a religious complex where they believed Yoo and his elder son were hiding. Geumsuwon, the religious retreat in Anseong, Gyeonggi, is dedicated to serving members of a Christian sect led by Yoo. Authorities later withdrew the plan, saying that Yoo had already escaped the place.

“We were tipped off that Yoo got out of the place on Saturday,” said Prosecutor Kim Hoe-jong of the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office. “Based on phone records and other reports, we are pretty convinced that he is not there,” Kim told reporters.

The sect’s adherents vowed to block police from entering, accusing them of religious persecution in advance. Kim suggested that Yoo may be hiding in the residence of one of the adherents.

“Still, we are not sure whether the house is in Seoul or not,” he said, “but we will try our best anyway to take him into custody.”

Also evading investigation are Yoo’s elder daughter Som-na and two sons - Hyeok-gi and Dae-gyun. Hyeok-gi is believed to be in the United States and Som-na in Paris. Investigators have submitted criminal extradition requests from U.S. and French agencies. The Ministry of Justice asked Interpol to arrest those in overseas countries.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 22, 2014, 03:45:34 AM
Prosecutors enter church retreat to detain fugitive Sewol owner (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/21/0302000000AEN20140521001651315.html)
Quote
Prosecutors entered a church retreat Wednesday to find and detain the de facto owner of a sunken ferry Sewol who has refused to appear for questioning over corruption allegations.

A group of some 70 prosecutors and investigators entered the premise belonging to the Evangelical Baptist Church in Anseong, just south of Seoul, around noon where Yoo Byung-eun was suspected of hiding. Yoo remains an influential founding member of the religious group.
Gov't orders family members of Sewol owner to turn in passports (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/21/0302000000AEN20140521001651315.html)
Quote
The foreign ministry said Wednesday it has ordered a son and a daughter of the de facto owner of a sunken ferry to return their passports at the request of prosecutors looking into the owner's corruption allegations.

Prosecutors are moving to arrest Yoo Byung-eon, a former head of Chonghaejin Marine Co. which operated the ill-fated ferry Sewol that sank last month as he refused to appear for questioning over corruption allegations.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 22, 2014, 10:14:47 AM
Investigators enter Sewol owner’s compound
 (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140521001176)
(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/raid1_zps499c1c9a.jpg)

Quote
A group of investigators dispatched by the prosecution forced their way into Geumsuwon, a compound in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, in a bid to arrest the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol around at 12:10 p.m., Wednesday.

The compound is owned by the Salvation Sect, which is allegedly led by former Semo Group chief Yoo Byung-eon. Yoo is suspected of hiding out in the compound, which is being protected by sect members.

In a break from the strong resistance they had been putting up, hundreds of Yoo’s followers stood aside to let about 70 investigators’ entry into the compound.

Earlier in the day, spokespeople for Geumsuwon expressed their willingness to cooperate with prosecutors over the investigation.

Yoo’s followers, however, said their cooperation would be feasible as long as the authorities pave the way for the 73-year-old business tycoon and his followers to recover their “tarnished reputation.” (Good luck with that)

Investigators are also targeting Yoo’s oldest son Dae-gyun for arrest, as he is suspected of committing a variety of irregularities during his management of some affiliates of Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ill-fated Sewol.

About 1,000 riot policemen are deployed around the compound in preparation for the upcoming raid and possible emergency situation.

The prosecution on Tuesday raised the possibility that Yoo had already covertly left Geumsuwon.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 22, 2014, 01:36:20 PM
Ferry owner’s hideout raided (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140521001559)
Quote
Investigators had failed to find him in Geumsuwon as of 6 p.m. (May 21, 2014). “Though the search is underway, backed by active coordination from the Geumsuwon staff, we have yet to be informed of any report over his whereabouts,” said a prosecutor.

The prosecution has only seized records of a closed-circuit television inside a farming cooperative, a location known as Yoo’s furtive retreat, around the compound.

In a break from the strong resistance they had been putting up, hundreds of Yoo’s followers stood aside to let about 70 investigators’ entry into Geumsuwon.

Earlier in the day, spokespeople for Geumsuwon expressed their willingness to cooperate with prosecutors over the investigation.

Yoo’s followers, however, clarified that they would cooperate only if the authorities pave the way for the 73-year-old business tycoon and his followers to recover their “tarnished reputation.”

They argued that “the Odaeyang incident was declared to be of no connection to the Salvation Sect,” though the ex-chief of the now-defunct Semo Group was previously a member of the religious cult, dubbed Odaeyang.

Yoo was a suspect in the cult’s 1987 mass suicide-murder. More than 30 people from the entity were found dead, bound and gagged at a plant in a satellite city near Seoul.

The prosecution, which has not refuted the followers’ argument, stressed religious matters are not relevant to the ongoing investigation. It made it clear that the probe is focused on revealing improprieties of Yoo and Chonghaejin Marine Co, the operator of ferry Sewol. ...

Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 23, 2014, 01:09:29 AM
Nice of the cultists to let the police in after Yoo had fled, and it was of the police to wait until they had been invited in.
A bit of advice to the Salvation Sect: threatening to kill yourselves doesn't really help your efforts to distance yourself from the suicide cult Yoo was involved with.

Yoo Family Gets Away (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157651.html)
Quote
Police move into Geumsuwon; cult followers make no resistance

By Kim Da-ye

Prosecutors moved into Geumsuwon, the stronghold of the Salvation Sect, Wednesday, to arrest Yoo Byung-eun but he was nowhere to be found.

There were no clashes with the hundreds of his followers present.

Rumors circulated that Yoo, the de-facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, and his eldest son had already escaped before the search.

The sect members peacefully allowed prosecutors and investigators to move in after the prosecution accepted their demand for clarification that there were no links between the sect and a mass suicide in 1987, known as the "Odaeyang incident."

Some 80 prosecutors and investigators from the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office made their way into Geumsuwon in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, around noon following a court approving the search for Yoo and issuing a warrant to detain his eldest son, Dae-gyun.

The entry appeared highly coordinated between the prosecution and the Salvation Sect. Around 11 a.m. , the sect's spokesman announced to the media that members would let the prosecution into the compound. Thirty minutes later, riot police were deployed in front of the gate. By noon, the prosecutors entered the facility in seven vehicles.

As the vehicles passed through the entrance, the devotees stood on the sides of the road and sang hymns.

The search and seizure lasted eight hours as prosecutors and their investigators went through the compound, which the sect claims to be 760,330 square meters in area. However, they failed to get any tangible results.

The prosecution's entry onto the premises left a few questions unanswered.

It said Tuesday that they assumed Yoo had left the compound over the weekend and was likely staying in a devotee's home in Seoul.

Although prosecutors would be able to seize evidence against him and his family there with a search and seizure warrant, observers questioned why they did so.

Prosecutors also accessed Geumsuwon without an arrest warrant for Yoo. They only had a warrant that allowed them to bring him to court for a hearing to review a possible arrest warrant. The prosecution could have sought a warrant to take him into custody, but did not.

Observers also doubt the motives behind the Salvation Sect's opening of the gate.

Lee Tae-jong, a spokesman for the sect, said in a statement, "The prosecution told us officially today that Yoo Byung-eun and the Evangelical Baptist Church had nothing to do with the Odaeyang incident. This is the first step in us clearing ourselves of a false charge.

"We believe that the prosecution showed a bit of common courtesy toward us. So we will stop the struggle we have continued, despite the misunderstanding that we are a human shield for Yoo Byung-eun."

Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 23, 2014, 08:27:44 AM
Reward for Yoo and sons: (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157690.html)
Quote
The court issued an arrest warrant Thursday for Yoo Byung-eun, the de-facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, prompting investigators to launch a nationwide manhunt for Korea's most-wanted fugitive.

The prosecution said it will offer a 50 million won reward for anyone who provides tips leading to Yoo's arrest. Those who help apprehend Dae-gyun, Yoo's eldest son, will be given 30 million won. Officers who apprehend the fugitives will be promoted a rank.

The Incheon District Court issued the arrest warrant after reviewing documents submitted by the prosecution, saying it is feared that Yoo, 73, may flee the country and destroy evidence. Chonghaejin Marine, the operator of the ferry Sewol, is owned by Yoo through his children.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 23, 2014, 08:46:01 AM
This article states a slightly numbers of police and prosecution investigators, 1,300 and 80: (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989539)
Quote
Investigators hunting the de facto owner of the operator of the Sewol ferry yesterday raided the headquarters of a religious sect he leads. An eight-hour search ended in failure and Yoo Byung-eun remained at large.

Around 80 investigators and prosecutors entered the fortified retreat called Geumsuwon in Anseong, Gyeonggi, yesterday after receiving the consent of adherents. A total of 1,300 police guards were also deployed to check cars leaving or entering the compound.

Yoo, the 73-year-old patriarch of the family that allegedly controls the Chonghaejin Marine Company, which operated the ferry that capsized on April 16, faces various charges - including tax evasion and embezzlement - but hasn’t answered prosecution summonses for questioning or attended a court hearing to determine the validity of arrest warrants.

The raid was primarily aimed at finding evidence that might give clues to the current whereabouts of Yoo and back up corruption allegations rather than taking Yoo into custody, according to prosecutors. Before the raid, authorities admitted there was a low probability that Yoo was hiding in the compound.

Prosecutor Kim Hoe-jong of the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office said Tuesday that Yoo appeared to have escaped the area Saturday and is now presumed to be hiding in the residence of one of the sect’s followers. ...

Also on the run are Yoo’s elder daughter Som-na and two sons, Hyeok-gi and Dae-gyun. Hyeok-gi is believed to be in the United States and Som-na in Paris. In order to apply pressure, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday ordered the two to return their passports.

On Tuesday, investigators submitted criminal extradition requests to U.S. and French agencies while the Ministry of Justice asked Interpol to arrest those in overseas countries.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 23, 2014, 08:49:29 AM
I've long since given up saying "things couldn't get any crazier".

Could this help explain why the crew abandoned the children (http://www.kukmindaily.co.kr/article/view.asp?page=&gCode=7111&arcid=0008308182&code=71111101)?

Quote
It has become known that Salvation Sect founder Yu Byeong-eon (73) stated in a book he authored, “Nothing in the Bible says you’ll go to hell for murder,” and “It is possible for murder not to be in conflict with the law.”

Areobago People, a group of ministers researching heretical cults, opened a seminar on May 8 at Jeil Shopping Center in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do, during which they pointed out, “Yu’s book contains the self-centered, self-important values-perspective that is common to anti-social pseudo-religious cult leaders in general.”

“As we see in his book, Yu’s views are based on a low ethical standard that considers even murder to be of no consequence,” said Areobago People Representative Lee Young-ho (68), who also serves as director of the Right Faith Education Center of the Communion of Churches in Korea. “Yu’s twisted thinking, which not only blindly criticizes the legitimate church but goes so far as to throw out social and ethical standards, stems from the Salvation Sect’s peculiar, wrong doctrine that ‘Once you receive salvation, whatever wrongs you may commit, it will no longer matter.’”
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 23, 2014, 09:56:53 AM
Salvation Sect is Unrelated to Korean Church; Yu is Fraudulent Peddler of Unknown Religion (http://www.kukmindaily.co.kr/article/view.asp?page&gCode=7111&arcid=0008269019&code=71111101)
Quote
The claim has been made that Yu Byeong-eon (73), the founder of Salvation Sect (“Evangelical Baptist Church”), and the actual owner of Chonghaejin Marine Co., is an imposter who has defrauded people with his unknown religion. It is also argued that the Salvation Sect’s wrong doctrine may even have influenced the crew to neglect their duty to save passengers from the sinking ferry Sewol.

Jeong Dong-seop (67), former professor of the Department of Counseling and Psychology at Korean Baptist Theological University and Seminary, speaking at an interview on April 24 at a church on Yangcheonno in Gangseo-gu, Seoul, said, “Salvation Sect believers hold key positions on the ferry Sewol and in Chonghaejin Marine Co.” He explained, “Because members of Salvation Sect believe in the peculiar exclusive doctrine ‘Only you will be saved,’ at the moment of crisis they could have mistakenly thought, ‘Do I need to rescue these others, who cannot be saved anyway?’” From 1968 to 1977, former professor Jeong was Yu’s close associate, working at his side as an interpreter.

“Salvation Sect is a sham group, totally unrelated to the Korea Baptist Convention or to any other Korean church, and its founder Mr. Yu is the fraudulent peddler of an unknown religion, as pointed out by the Justice Ministry at the time of the Odaeyang incident in 1987,” former professor Jeong said. “It is impossible to imagine that the wrong doctrine of this pseudo religious group did not influence the Sewol disaster.” He declared, “We must absolutely restrict sham religious groups that crush the happiness of individuals and their families.”
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 23, 2014, 10:07:59 AM
Former Salvation Sect member describes the inner workings of the cult and the management of its ships:

It is not true that the Sewol’s captain is unrelated to the Salvation Sect. (http://www.kukmindaily.co.kr/article/view.asp?page=&gCode=7111&arcid=0008292344&code=71111101)
Quote
“In Ansan now, when people pass by any traditional church, they say, ‘The Ferry Sewol accident is all due to churchgoers.’ This is a time when the Korean church should not remain silent. The Salvation Sect people are rallying against the news broadcasts. Look, the Sewol tragedy is much worse than the Five Oceans (Odaeyang) mass suicide-murder case back in 1987. Shouldn’t the Korean churches demonstrate in front of the Yu Byeong-eon Salvation Sect churches to accuse the murderer?”

Thus Kim A (56·photo) rebuked the Salvation Sect in an angry voice during his interview with Kukmin Daily near the common memorial altar in Hwarang Recreation Area, Ansan, on April 30. After 32 years as an active member of the Yu Byeong-eon Salvation Sect (“Evangelical Baptist Church”) starting from his entry in 1976, he withdrew from the sect in 2008.

Kim was one of the captains belonging to the Semo Group, and from 1992 was in command of the Han River ferry. In 1997, he also started work with the new project team of Chonghaejin Marine Co. He confirmed that de facto owner Yu Byeong-eon (73) of Chonghaejin was behind the accident.

“Yu is the final decision maker at all the businesses run by the Salvation Sect. He even makes the decisions about garbage and trash disposal. As revealed by the investigation of the Prosecutor’s Office, first sailor Kang X was only talking on the phone, not responding to the situation, when the Sewol began to sink. I suspect that someone above ordered, ‘Stand a bit longer, wait and see,’ so as not to aggravate the situation. Of course Yu must have used a cell phone owned by someone else.”

Kim pointed out that the accident was also caused by the inflexible organizational culture of the company, which is overshadowed by the Salvation Sect. Kim said, “In all the marine corporations run by the Salvation Sect, the office workers have absolute power over the ship workers. The office workers act as if they are the company owners, and treat the sailors like their slaves. When something happens, therefore, the decision of the office takes priority over the situation in the field.” He added, “The company posts crucial members of the Salvation Sect among the ship workers, so that the sailors do not trust each other. It is very likely that they were controlling the ship through members of the sect.”

He also commented, “When I worked there, it was said among the workers, ‘Even in an accident, the ship will not sink entirely due to its great height. Accordingly, inside is safer.’ This wrong belief proves that they were totally ignorant about safety. I think the nonsensical announcement they made several times when the ferry was sinking (‘It is safer to remain inside the ship’) stemmed from this background.”

Additionally, Kim argued against the claim that the Sewol Captain Lee Jun-seok is unrelated to the Salvation Sect. He said, “In the past, I heard from someone I know that Captain Lee attended gatherings of the Salvation Sect several times and that he goes there because his wife is a fervent believer. They bring you in by making it an obligation to attend their gatherings if you’re not a believer. You can say that 7 or 8 out of every 10 workers of Chonghaejin Marine Co. are believers of the Salvation Sect.”

He also worries that the Sewol disaster will bring together the scattered 20,000 some Salvation Sect believers. No matter how much they are attacked by the newspapers and broadcast media, they live in a different mental world, so they will feel that they are being oppressed by outsiders. Smiling bitterly, Kim said, “Even at this moment, they must be brainwashing the believers completely via their internal broadcasting station, called ‘International Motion Pictures.”

Then he commented, “The reason why the Salvation Sect is a ‘ticking time bomb’ is that God is nowhere for them, while they serve Yu as an absolute idol comparable to Paul the Apostle. And the Salvation Sect is a nasty group. They take out large sums of loans using the personal accounts of the believers. The believers can’t help but stay, because otherwise they would have to pay the interest.” Kim urged, “Yu is always behind the scenes, so the Prosecutor's Office must do a thorough investigation.”
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 23, 2014, 10:22:45 AM
Sewol owner put on wanted list (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/22/33/0302000000AEN20140522004151315F.html)
Quote
... After a district court issued a warrant to detain Yoo, prosecutors immediately asked police to label Yoo and his eldest son, Dae-kyun, as fugitives, and announced a 50 million won (US$48,800) reward for information leading to the elder Yoo's arrest and 30 million won for his son.

"The father and the son are criminals who are on the most wanted list," Kim Hoe-jong, a senior prosecutor investigating the case, said in a press briefing. Kim further asked citizens and members of a religious group, in which Yoo remains an influential founding member, to report their whereabouts to the authorities.

"The prosecution will deal sternly with anyone who helps the Yoo family in the future course of the investigation," Kim said. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 23, 2014, 11:04:52 AM
Lovely! The recent action on Wikipedia has been spotted by the Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157705.html) :)
Quote
Followers of the Salvation Sect are conducting a systematic disinformation campaign in foreign media aimed at portraying their alleged leader Yoo Byung-eun as a victim of state persecution.

The 73-year-old de-facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol is on the run to evade answering allegations of improperly managing the operations of the sunken ferry and other affiliates.

During one of the sect's several rallies staged in Geumsuwon, its main base, its members carried placards written in English. One read, "Mr. Gerry Spencer. We don't have a voice in Korea. Please do something. Hannah."

"Thank you Mr. Mike von Joel. Stand up for AHAE. We won't forget you," read another.

They are apparently referencing the Wikipedia entry about Ahae, Yoo's pseudonym as a photographer.

The entry was created initially to promote Yoo as a photographer, but it has since become a channel to defend him against allegations of wrongdoing in the Sewol disaster.

"Simply put, AHAE does not own any shares, has any business dealings with, or is involved in the day-to-day operations of Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd."

The entry once, said although that has since been deleted.

The entry was created on May 16 by a Wikipedia user named "Ogtlife. " The short entry mainly highlighted Yoo's photography and described him as an "inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, environmental activist, martial arts specialist, painter, sculptor, poet and photographer. " Another user, Ahaepressinc, apparently the publisher of Yoo's photography works, edited the entry the next day, the history shows.

On May 19, one user wrote about Yoo's connection to Chonghaejin Marine, the Sewol's operator, for the first time. This unnamed person wrote that Yoo is "the head of the family owning Chonghaejin Marine, the operator of the MS Sewol which sunk on April 16, 2014,"

Another user called Junganghansik added Yoo's religious activities to the entry, saying that he was the leader of a religious cult in the 1980s. The Odaeyang incident, the mass suicide of cultists in 1987 was also added. Junganghansik describes himself as "a professional editor and amateur historian."

The next day, Ogtlife, the creator of the entry, carried out a major update in defense of Yoo, saying that, "Contrary to media reports, Ahae has no stake in the ferry company and his two sons have an indirect stake of only 10% in the ferry company. The Korean government has a history of influencing mainstream media to further its agenda and to divert attention away from their own responsibilities related to the Sewol tragedy."

As soon as the prosecution cleared the Salvation Sect of involvement in the Odaeyang incident as part of its negotiations with it to enter its compound, Ogtlife added a new entry, "Contrary to reports indicating Yoo's connection to the mass suicide cult Odaeyang, the prosecutor's definitely and officially confirmed that there was no connection with Odaeyang and Yoo."

The entry will most likely be edited further. Wikipedia meanwhile has warned that the entry needs "additional citations for verification" and is being considered for deletion in line with its deletion policy.

Yoo and his supporters have also set up a website called Ahae News (ahaenews. com) to defend his reputation as a photographer.

The website contains video interviews with Henri Loyrette, a former director of the Louvre Museum; Catherine Pegard, president of the Palace of Versailles; Mike von Joel, editor in chief of State Media, a London-based art magazine; and Milan Knizak, former general director of the National Gallery in Prague. They have all been involved in Yoo's exhibitions.

The news section includes endorsement letters from von Joel, Knizak and other heads of the venues that hosted Yoo's exhibitions.

Mike von Joel's letter written on April 23, for example, says, "I am personally appalled at the grotesque distortions being aimed at the artist AHAE all of which appear to be completely fabricated and without foundation. " He refers to allegations that Yoo paid billions of won to have an exhibition at the Tuileries Garden in Paris hosted by the Louvre Museum.

Before setting up Ahae News, Yoo distributed a press release through PR Newswire attached with endorsement letters from von Joel and Knizak. The press release was in English, not Korean.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 23, 2014, 11:30:42 AM
A real Bingo moment. I noticed the www.god.com (http://www.god.com) was changed over the past few days, so I went over to the Internet Archive to see how it looked in the past. The result: PDFs of Yoo's books in English:
https://web.archive.org/web/20140209005328/http://god.com/index.php?site=books&lg=en (https://web.archive.org/web/20140209005328/http://god.com/index.php?site=books&lg=en)

I'm not yet sure what they yield, but I'm sure there'll be little nuggets of information spread across those books.

The "About the Author" section at the end of God So Loved 2 is interesting. It makes no mention of his love for photography. Likewise, his photographer bio makes no reference to his religious books, nor why he seemed to stop spreading the gospel when he bought his first camera. ;)

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/Abouttheauthor_zps256e5a4b.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 23, 2014, 01:23:19 PM
An older article I missed that I think is worth saving. Thanks to a friend for the link:

Cult linked to ferry firm resists law (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140514001293)
Quote
Speculation is rampant that loyal members of the sect have been engaged in a large pyramid sales scheme, including Dapanda, a multilayered marketing firm employing loyalists from the sect. With nearly 60 branches nationwide, Dapanda sells various items ranging from cosmetics to health food and kitchen products. The firm is thought to have thrived and secured stable marketing routes with backing from the sect’s devout members.

Amid escalating criticism against the owner families and their close link to the sect, a growing number of boycotts have been launched online. A list of companies believed to be connected to the religious group and the Yoo family has gone viral on portal sites, blogs and Twitter, with the campaign urging people not to buy their products.

The list not only includes companies currently being investigated by the prosecution, but also hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and amusement parks found to be connected to the sect or operated by its members.

The photo caption reads: Members of the Salvation Sect, believed to be led by Yoo Byung-eon, the owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, hold a rally in front of the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
 
However, the article only mentions protests conducted at the group's compound.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 24, 2014, 12:05:50 AM
I received some very interesting links from a friend over night. I'll highlight the most interesting parts later today:

The first offers a great run down of Yoo and his alter ego AHAE. Very insightful work. And we've been looking at the same sites^ I wonder if he came here?
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/KOR-01-220514.html (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/KOR-01-220514.html)

From May 2: More jaw-dropping face-plant headlines:
Director of ferry probe removed over links to Semo Group (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2988693)

Ten days later, related:
Find all political, government leaders protecting Yoo Byeong-eon (http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2014051223018)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 24, 2014, 10:39:52 AM
A couple of interesting recent articles from two major news providers. I'll just copy parts I haven't seen elsewhere:
May 23: Reward Offered for Missing South Korea Ferry Owner (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/reward-offered-manhunt-missing-ferry-owner-23838763)
Quote
... Officers at the National Police Agency said Thursday that they have begun a massive manhunt to capture Yoo. A special team of about 150 veteran detectives and police officers has been established. Tens of thousands of posters with photos of Yoo and his son and information about the rewards have been plastered on bus terminals, train stations and other public places, agency officials said. Officers who capture Yoo or his son will be promoted by one rank.

Yoo is said to be the leader of the Evangelical Baptist Church, sometimes known as the Salvation Sect, and critics allege that church members call him "Moses." Church members deny that and say Yoo is just an ordinary member, although they acknowledge he has some influence because of his long affiliation with the church, which was founded by his father-in-law. ...
Yoo founded Chonghaejin's predecessor, Semo Corp., in 1979. The conglomerate, which found success with businesses running cruises on Seoul's Han River, had firms involved in cosmetics, real estate, other domestic ferry businesses and shipbuilding. It once had nearly 3,000 employees. Semo went bankrupt amid the Asian foreign exchange crisis in the late 1990s.

Even after Semo's bankruptcy, Yoo's family continued to operate ferry businesses under the names of other companies, including one that eventually became Chonghaejin. The ferry businesses owned by Yoo's family suffered a slew of maritime accidents. In 1991, 14 Semo workers were killed when their cruise ship on the Han River was hit by another ship.

In recent years, Yoo has worked as a photographer under the name of "Ahae," and his works have been shown at the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles. Companies affiliated with Chonghaejin reportedly have spent tens of millions of dollars to buy his photographs.

May 20: South Korea manhunt for missing ferry owner (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2014/05/south-korea-manhunt-missing-ferry-owner-201452013830712883.html)
Quote
... Chung Dong-Sup, a former member of the Salvation Sect (AIDE),a religious group associated with Yoo, said that the owner should be held accountable for his actions. "He assigns people to different businesses himself, so everything is under his control," Chung said.

Prosecutors believe that the ferry sunk because it was overloaded, its cargo was not properly secured and it made an unusually sharp turn, according to Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, who was reporting from the port of Incheon. He added that prosecutors "are seeking to prove that Yoo was responsible for such lax management".

A former crew member, who would not tell Al Jazeera his name, said that Chonghaejin often hired people who had little experience or who were affiliated with the church.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 24, 2014, 01:25:15 PM
Ferry Owner Put on Most-Wanted List (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/05/23/2014052301339.html)

Quote
Prosecutors asked the Incheon district court to issue an arrest warrant for Yoo so they can label him a fugitive and put a W50 million (US$1=W1,025) price on his head. His son Yoo Dae-gyun is also considered a fugitive with a W30 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Besides culpability in the ferry disaster last month, Yoo senior is suspected of embezzling W128.9 billion from his companies. They include W44.6 billion he transferred overseas illegally, as part of a scheme to sell his allegedly acclaimed nature photographs to the companies for tens of millions of won. He also owes an estimated W10.1 billion in taxes for the dubious photo sale.
(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/policewanted_zpsee0bbbad.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 24, 2014, 02:31:45 PM
A few of these names (the composers and a couple of others) were mentioned here before. 2.7 million photographs in 4 years... They really should have done the maths and then stayed well clear, but I do kind of feel for composer Ilan Eshkeri who is pictured and quoted in the article. I did try give him a heads up via twitter. No idea if he saw the tweets. He hasn't responded nor tweeted since. Of course it's easy to identify a fraud after the fact. I am pretty good at picking cult leaders though. :)  The US and Israeli ambassadors appearing at a Yoo function isn't really a surprise. These publicity-seeking cult leaders (The Rev. Moon (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?board=3.0) and Man-Hee Lee (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?board=100.0) come to mind) are all about photo ops with the rich, the famous, and the influential.

Yoo family has interacted with famous people (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157776.html)
Quote
In Korea, Yoo Byung-eun became an icon of greed after the sinking of the ferry Sewol, but he has been portrayed as a talented photographer or a genius in films and interviews with world-renowned artists.

That image was built up by his second son, Hyuk-kee, whose English name is Keith Yoo. The junior Yoo is known to have organized exhibitions of photos taken by his father, and "bought" reviews from celebrities.

Before the ferry accident, Yoo was recognized as the leader of a cult related to a mass suicide in 1987 known as the "Odaeyang incident," although he was not charged with any crime. Hyuk-kee was barely known outside the Salvation Sect.

In stark contrast, Yoo built up a reputation abroad as a mysterious billionaire photographer with a peculiar style, and Hyuk-kee as his sociable representative and CEO of Ahae Press. They built an extensive overseas network of influential acquaintances including a former director of the Louvre Museum, a film soundtrack composer and diplomats.

Singer Park Jin-young was also found to be the husband of a niece of Yoo, triggering speculation that Park's firm, JYP Entertainment, is associated with Yoo or the religious group. ...

Henri Loyrette, a former director of the Louvre Museum, is one of them. The Ahae News website, which was set up after the ferry accident to defend Yoo's reputation as a photographer, carries a statement from him written in March 2012.

Loyrette said in the statement that he got to know Yoo through Guy Oliver, a well-known interior designer. Oliver said about Yoo at a lunch in Malaysia, that he was "an artist who had created a grand experiment, taking 1 million photographs in two years" from a single window, according to Loyrette. It is not known how Yoo and Oliver met, but the designer did the setting for Yoo's exhibitions at the Palace of Versailles.

Yoo and Hyuk-kee's network reaches far beyond the circle of exhibition organizers to the world of music. Michael Nyman, a knighted British composer, wrote a symphony for Yoo. Ahaeproducts. com sells a music compact disk titled, "Michael Nyman Through the Only Window," which the website says was "written in the spirit of an open dialogue with the imagery of Ahae's photographs."

In the summer of 2012, Ilan Eshkeri, a British composer who created the soundtracks for various films including "Ninja Assassin," "Kick Ass" and "Stardust," also composed a song for Yoo's exhibition at the Tuileries Garden in front of the Louvre Museum in 2012.

The composer also conducted two concerts held in the garden to celebrate the exhibition. He mentioned Hyuk-kee as his friend there, saying, "None of this would have been possible without the extraordinary generosity of the artist and vision of the son, the patron and my friend, Keith Yoo, who is with us tonight." Eshkeri's website says that he was asked to compose music inspired by Yoo's photographic works. "Whilst writing he became fascinated by the artist's process," the website said.

Hyuk-kee's network extended to the culinary world as he ran the Manhattan, N.Y. branch of luxury French chocolate brand, Debauve & Gallais.

In photographs taken by Wire Image back in 2005, Hyuk-kee is posing with Daniel Boulud, a French chef from a Michelin starred restaurant, who has outlets across the U.S. , Canada, the U.K. and Singapore.

Furthermore, Yoo apparently has contacts in the diplomatic circles of Korea. In an event to celebrate the launch of his photography book last year, Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to Korea, and the Israeli ambassador were seen. The Korea Times contacted the media representatives of the U.S. and Israeli embassies to enquire about their relationships with Yoo, but couldn't reach anyone for comment.

Skeptics about Yoo claim that Yoo and Hyuk-kee met influential figures through businesses and sponsorships.

According to the Louvre's endowment fund report for 2012, Yoo donated 1.1 million euro (1.54 billion won) to the museum's foundation under the pseudonym of "AHAE, a Korean entrepreneur and artist."

Mike von Joel, an editor-in-chief of the London-based State Media magazine, denied that Yoo could have the exhibition at the Tuileries Garden because of his endowment to the Louvre. "No artist, however, exalted, can bribe a historical and world renowned institution such as the Louvre," von Joel wrote in a letter endorsing Yoo's works.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 24, 2014, 02:51:39 PM
Prosecution receives tip-offs regarding fugitive Sewol owner (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/23/71/0302000000AEN20140523006700315F.html)
Quote
... "We have received many tip-offs after putting Yoo on the wanted list," Kim Hoe-jong, a senior prosecutor investigating the case, said in a press briefing.

Prosecutors said they are closely monitoring ports across the country with the cooperation of the Coast Guard amid the possibility that the mysterious owner could stow away to a foreign country aboard a ship.

The investigators also said they have indicted Park Seung-il, Yoo's close aide and an auditor for I-One-I Holdings, the holding company of Chonghaejin Marine, on charges of embezzling 12.6 billion won in company funds. ...
The quality of the tip offs isn't stated. Perhaps the police learned their lesson and are no longer announcing places they will raid a week in advance?
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 24, 2014, 04:40:18 PM
Another link from a friend:

Sneaky: Ferry Owner Signed Property Over to Cult (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/05/22/2014052201900.html)
Quote
Yoo Byung-eon, the de facto owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, and his family signed over around W27 billion worth of real estate to a cult he leads shortly after the ferry disaster last month.

The transfer is expected to complicate the government's efforts to seize assets owned by Yoo and his children to compensate the victims and cover expenses for the massive search and rescue operation.

A prosecution spokesman said, "Yoo and his family should be feel responsible for the tragedy, but instead have chosen to cheat in order to protect their assets."

Transcripts of land registers show the cult established the right to collateral security for some 24 properties on April 28 and 29, just a few days after Yoo pledged to donate what he claimed were his "entire assets" of W10 billion to compensate the victims.
I knew he was lying^ (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=994.msg2654#msg2654)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 25, 2014, 12:10:58 AM
Nice to see the story getting around. The comments in the first link are worth a scroll though. There are lots of comments on the small reward being offered:
http://news.yahoo.com/reward-offered-missing-south-korea-ferry-owner-112711464.html (http://news.yahoo.com/reward-offered-missing-south-korea-ferry-owner-112711464.html)
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/south-korea-ferry-sinking-reward-missing-owner/1/363291.html (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/south-korea-ferry-sinking-reward-missing-owner/1/363291.html)

A news clip from Korea's Arirang TV with some footage of the wanted posters, the cult's compound, and perhaps the famous room with a view: Yoo's son looks like a scary and meaner Kim Jeong-un.
http://www.arirang.co.kr/news/News_View.asp?nseq=162820 (http://www.arirang.co.kr/news/News_View.asp?nseq=162820)

Prosecutors warn anyone who helps Yoo escape (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989634)
Quote
A day after prosecutors put Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the operator of the sunken Sewol ferry, on the country’s most wanted list, they warned that anyone who helps Yoo in hiding faces up to three years in prison.

They said that even lending a cell phone or offering food to the absconding sect leader and businessman can be liable for punishment.
Chris de Burgh - Don't Feed The Ferryman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kNwvIEQsg0&feature=kp#)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 25, 2014, 05:03:35 AM
Deja-vous! When I first encountered the JMS cult, Jeong Myeong-seok was also on  Interpol's red notice list (http://www.interpol.int/INTERPOL-expertise/Notices) and I think that was one aspect of that whole crazy story that captured my interest. It took authorities years to capture Jeong, but there was no where near the same level of media interest, public interest, and political will behind his hunt, if "hunt" is the right word.

I have to admit it's nice to see red notices issued to people connected to a Korean cult again. Good luck, Interpol, and God speed. This article also explains the rather low amount (when compared to Ahae's wealth at least) of the reward being offered for Ahae and his son believed to be in Korea:

Yoo’s children make Interpol’s ‘red notice’ list (http://koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140523001123)
Quote
Following its announcement to offer a 50 million won ($48,800) reward for the capture of Yoo Byung-eon, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, the police are now filing an Interpol red notice against two of Yoo’s four children.

The “red notice,” or internationally wanted persons alert, was issued for Yoo’s second son Hyuk-gi, 42, and oldest daughter Som-na, 48, who have been refusing to respond to summons while reportedly staying overseas. The same notice was filed against Kim Hye-kyung, the chief of Hankook Pharma, who is one of Yoo’s close associates. The 52-year-old is also reportedly overseas.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry ordered Kim and Yoo’s children to surrender their passports. Should the three not cooperate with the demands after the ministry’s two initial courtesy requests, their passports will be automatically voided.

The prosecution failed to locate Yoo and his eldest son Dae-gyun in spite of its raid at a religious compound in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday. The following day, the police announced that it would offer a 50 million won reward for the capture of Yoo.

The reward money is the maximum for a wanted criminal in Korea. The first fugitive who was wanted for 50 million won was Shin Chang-won, the notorious criminal who escaped prison in 1997 and managed to evade the police for almost two years. The second was Yoo Young-chul, a serial killer who murdered 20 people ― mostly prostitutes ― from 2003 to 2004.

The police are also offering a 30 million won reward for the capture of Yoo’s eldest son, Dae-gyun. ...

A little more about Yoo's sons and daughter:
Hunt begins for Yoos’ assets abroad (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989596)
Quote
Investigators pursuing the family behind the company that owned the sunken ferry Sewol started tracking overseas properties held by the elusive older daughter and younger son of patriarch Yoo Byung-eun.

Second son Yoo Hyeok-gi is believed to live in the United States and Yoo Som-na, the oldest daughter, in Paris. They allegedly own upscale houses in New York, California and France.

If prosecutors prove that the son and daughter used illegally obtained money to purchase those assets, they will request U.S. and French law enforcement agencies to seize property and freeze bank accounts held by the son and daughter. Prosecutors sought arrest warrants for the two on charges of being involved in financial irregularities including embezzlement and tax evasion.

“As soon as the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office finds that they have used illegally obtained assets to buy the buildings, we will ask for the seizure of the buildings and the freezing of their bank accounts,” said a source at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office who refused to be identified.

The Ministry of Justice dispatched local investigators to discuss potential extradition. Yoo Som-na is in France on a temporary residence visa. Local prosecutors are laying the groundwork for grabbing those assets by discussing judicial assistance with the French government.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office has also asked the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations directorate to track down real estate and deposits under the names of the siblings or affiliates of the family business.

Yoo Som-na is believed to own and live in a luxury apartment near Paris’s Champs-Elysees. The apartment is reportedly worth 2.5 billion won ($2.44 million).

Yoo Hyeok-gi and his wife Elizabeth Yoo allegedly own at least three apartments in Manhattan and near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris estimated to be worth around $6.2 million altogether.


Prosecutors are trying to hold the family liable for damages incurred by the ferry disaster, which left more than 300 passengers - mostly students - dead or still unaccounted for. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 26, 2014, 03:39:43 AM
Interesting quote at the top of Yoo's www.god.com (http://www.god.com) site:

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/godcomwith_zpsaef734a2.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 26, 2014, 12:15:25 PM
http://articles.latimes.com/2006/may/19/local/me-resort19 (http://articles.latimes.com/2006/may/19/local/me-resort19)
http://www.recordgazette.net/news/article_84ebcdd2-68f7-50cd-9214-5dd5ff1a8ad8.html (http://www.recordgazette.net/news/article_84ebcdd2-68f7-50cd-9214-5dd5ff1a8ad8.html)

I couldn't find the actual article, but an interesting headline was spied here: (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/24/52/0301000000AEN20140524000400315F.html)

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/ferryapartments_zps3af3f43a.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 26, 2014, 03:01:06 PM
Reward raised ten fold. That's more like it:
 (Oops, I posted the wrong link. Just corrected it)
 (http://english.kbs.co.kr/news/news_view.html?No=102796&id=Dm[/url)
Quote
Prosecutors have increased the reward money for the man believed to be the owner of the sunken Sewol ferry’s operator.
 
The reward for Yoo Byung-eon was raised from 50 million to 500 million won. Prosecutors also raised the reward for Yoo’s eldest son, Dae-Kyun, from 30 million won to 100 million won.
 
A prosecution official said the increase in the rewards came after the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office consulted with the police and reviewed claims that the initial rewards were too low.
Extensive article, which I don't have time to read in full now, with insights from a man I'm proud to call a good friend, Dr Ji-il Tark:
http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989684&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Ctop (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989684&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Ctop)

Once again thanks to a crack investigator for sending me those links, and others^.

More on the weekend's developments: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140525000430 (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140525000430)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 26, 2014, 05:04:53 PM
Well things just got even more unbelievable thanks to some stellar research from an already stellar researcher:

It seems certain that Kevin Ham is Michael Ham's bother. Michael is AHAE's PR guy in New York and a long-time member of his cult. Kevin is, or at least was, a member of Yoo's cult.
Remember www.god.com? (http://www.god.com?) We can add www.satan.com (http://www.satan.com), www.heaven.com (http://www.heaven.com), and www.snog.com (http://www.snog.com), and who knows what else. Perhaps even the hosting company I use. :o

Was Yoo getting a piece of the action? If he manages to get out of Korea, might he turn to the Ham brothers? And did Yoo get a cut of this wealth?

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/06/01/100050989/index.htm?postversion=2007052214 (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/06/01/100050989/index.htm?postversion=2007052214)

Quote
The man who owns the Internet
Kevin Ham is the most powerful dotcom mogul you've never heard of, reports Business 2.0 Magazine. Here's how the master of Web domains built a $300 million empire....

Ham is a devout Christian, and he spends $31,000 to add Christianrock.com to his collection, which already includes God.com and Satan.com. When it's all over, Ham strolls to the table near the exit and writes a check for $650,000. It's a cheap afternoon.

Christianity had long been a mainstay with his family, but as an undergrad, he made the Bible a focal point of his life; he joined the Evangelical Layman's Church and attended regular Bible meetings. Ham recalls that it was about this time -- 1992 or 1993 -- that he was introduced to the Web. A church friend told him about a powerful new medium that could be used to spread the gospel.

Some more: http://fusible.com/2010/07/kevin-ham-reinvents-the-reinvent-com-web-site-theres-a-new-kid-in-town/ (http://fusible.com/2010/07/kevin-ham-reinvents-the-reinvent-com-web-site-theres-a-new-kid-in-town/)
http://www.bcbusiness.ca/people/technology-winner-kevin-ham (http://www.bcbusiness.ca/people/technology-winner-kevin-ham)

 
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 27, 2014, 12:13:25 AM
More on the four arrests and the resulting protests by the cultists who are acting crazier than ever:
http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989686 (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989686)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 28, 2014, 03:30:51 AM
Today's manhunt roundup: more raids, more arrests (but not "the" arrest), a bizarre reward offered by the cult and more (they're not doing a very good job persuading anyone they are not a cult), and the Korean president loses patience:

Search for Yoo continues after raids (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_157915.html)
Quote
After two raids in South Jeolla Province Sunday, on a property in Suncheon and a tea farm in Bosoeng, authorities are continuing to search for Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol amid speculation that he could attempt to flee on a ship.

As Suncheon is located near the southern coast and ports in South Jeolla Province, investigators believe that Yoo and his son could try to board a ship. South Jeolla Province is where many agricultural and fishery businesses belonging to Yoo's Salvation Sect are located, many of his followers are believed to live in the region. ...

Some 120 investigators and police officers searched the premises on Sunday, but failed to find Yoo and his son. The prosecution on Monday took into custody a woman in her 30s for allegedly fleeing with the 73-year-old Yoo. It is not known how and why she might have helped Yoo.

Four members of the Salvation sect were arrested Sunday for assisting Yoo to escape detection by the police. They allegedly gave Yoo mineral water and dried fruit and let him use their mobile phones.

In the meantime, the Salvation Sect said Monday that Yoo might have returned early in the morning to Geumsuwon, a stronghold of the cult followers in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, in an apparent move to confuse investigators.

Later the same day, the religious group made an official announcement regarding the prosecution's search for Yoo, saying that Yoo is not in Geumsuwon and that 100,000 followers will protect him.

"Because of the 500 million won reward, we don't know what those blinded by money will do. We hope Yoo doesn't get arrested. A hundred thousand followers will protect Yoo," Lee Tae-jong, a spokesperson for the Salvation Sect, said.

Lee said that the Salvation Sect will offer a reward of 500 million won ― the same amount for Yoo ― for establishing the cause of the Sewol tragedy.


The prosecution on Sunday increased the reward for information of Yoo's whereabouts to 500 million won and that of his eldest son, Yoo Dae-gyun, to 100 million won. ...
Extradition of Ferry Owner's Family, Cronies Sought (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/05/26/2014052601506.html) (Extra points awarded for the excellent use of the word "cronies")
Quote
Prosecutors in Incheon said they have asked the U.S. and French governments to extradite the son and daughter of ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon. Authorities are taking steps to revoke their passports and have put them on Interpol's most-wanted list. ...

Prosecutors are seeking Yoo Hyuk-ki (42) and Yoo Sum-na (48) as well as two confidants of the ferry owner and part-time cult leader on charges of corruption relating to the ferry disaster off the southwest coast last month.

The U.S. has revoked the visas of the two confidants, Kim Pil-bae (76) and Kim Hye-kyung (52). They will be extradited as soon as they are found. ...

Meanwhile, prosecutors arrested Park Seung-il (55), an advisor with an affiliate of Chonghaejin Marine, on charges of embezzling W12.6 billion in company money (US$1=W1,025).
Park orders quick arrest of fugitive ferry owner (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/05/26/2014052601506.html)
Quote
President Park Geun-hye ordered a quick arrest of the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol on Tuesday, saying he is the "root cause" of the tragic sinking and must be brought to justice.

Park issued the order during a Cabinet meeting as the 73-year-old owner, Yoo Byung-eun, has evaded a massive manhunt for weeks. He is wanted for a string of corruption charges and irregularities that are believed to have caused the ferry to sink, leaving more than 300 people dead or missing.

"The Yoo Byung-eun family, the root cause of this tragedy, is ridiculing the law and causing indignation among the people even though they must repent before the people and reveal the truth. This is a challenge to our society and a crime that cannot be protected or defended by anything," Park said.

Sect announces it will not let Yoo be arrested (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989725)
Quote
... A temporary spokesman for the church, better known as Guwonpa, also made it clear that the sect’s followers would not let the 73-year-old tycoon be arrested by authorities. ...

“Many of us are hoping Yoo will not be arrested,” Lee Tae-jong, the temporary spokesman for the sect said at the conference, which was held at the main gate of the compound. “Even if the entire congregation of 100,000 believers is arrested, we won’t hand him over.” ...

In the press conference, Lee also disclosed that the prosecution had requested Geumsuwon to take down a banner stating, “Let’s go the whole hog, Kim Ki-choon,” a slight directed at the president’s chief of staff. The prosecution, however, previously denied having requested the group to remove it.

The relationship between Kim and the cult dates back to a controversy in 1987 when the bound and gagged bodies of 32 adherents of the sect were found dead, stacked in piles in a factory in Yongin, Gyeonggi, in what appeared to be a mass suicide. At the time, Kim was the justice minister and Yoo was a minister and a leader of the sect.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 28, 2014, 04:05:15 AM
One more: manslaughter charges on the cards for Yoo: (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140526001619)
Quote
Investigators said Monday that Yoo Byung-eon, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, was found to have glossed over critical problems with the stability of the refurbished vessel.

According to the prosecution, Kim Han-shik, the chief of Chonghaejin Marine Co. ― the operator of the Sewol ― notified Yoo of the risks of overloading it with freight early this year. Kim reportedly pointed out the ferry’s weakened ability to recover left-and-right balance when tilted due to an extension in the number of cabins several years ago.

The prosecution, accordingly, is poised to cite “homicide by negligence” in its coming application of criminal law against the ferry owner. Yoo has been specified as the “chairman” on the payroll of Chonghaejin Marine.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 28, 2014, 05:24:06 AM
www.god.com (http://www.god.com), the cult's website, features some interesting quotes from www.mybible.com (http://www.mybible.com) that seem specifically tailored both for people who happen to belong to a cult led by Korea's most wanted fugitive and perhaps for the fugitive himself:

Acts 18:10 was at the top of that site a few days ago and echoes the recent (see above) comments from the cult's spokesperson "For I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/mybiblecity_zpsda12bb8f.jpg)

And today, this is in second place:
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

The quotes come from www.mybible.com (http://www.mybible.com), which, perhaps not surprisingly, is linked to Kevin Ham. www.heaven.com (http://www.heaven.com) leads you to www.mybible.com (http://www.mybible.com). The Heaven site is also one of Kevin's:
Big plans in store for Heaven.com, and nearly 20 other category killer names from Kevin Ham (http://fusible.com/2009/09/big-plans-in-store-for-heaven-com-and-nearly-20-other-category-killer-names-from-kevin-ham/)
Quote
Looks like Kevin Ham is finally working on some big plans for his array of category-killer religious names including Religion.com, Satan.com, God.com, Heaven.com and nearly 20 other names.

Although in it’s early stages of development, Reinvent will be launching the Gospel Media Network. Most of the domain names have the Gospel Media Network splash page on the landing page.

The network includes some big names, with some serious traffic that will probably huge BUZZ once the network goes live. Oddly, Reinvent owns TheGospelMediaNetwork.com (which looks to be the future brand of all the names combined), but they don’t own GospelMediaNetwork.com. That domain name appears to have been registered back in 2003 by a different company.

From the About Us page of Heaven.com:
The Gospel Media Network (GMN) was conceived in 2000. It had a vision to acquire a handful of very important domain names, such as God.com, Religion.com, Heaven.com and thousands of other related domain names. A handful of dedicated, passionate people who share this vision of using the Internet to share the message of the Pure Gospel have now in 2008 started the work of developing out the sites in a progressive and integrated manner.
www.jews.com (http://www.jews.com) and www.muslims.com (http://www.muslims.com) are still awaiting buyers. Much as I like those urls, isn't there a chance some of the more ... shall we say "devoted" people of the Islamic faith might take offense to that? www.muslims.com (http://www.muslims.com) is for sale via www.mark.com (http://www.mark.com), another site owned by Kevin (http://www.wannadevelop.com/blog/mark-com-domain-sales-rentals/). And to think, I killed www.captporridge.com (http://www.captporridge.com) because I thought three sites was too many.

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/the-gospel-media-network-450x342_zps70d3f008.jpg)

I love how the site operated by Yoo's cult (God.com) sits atop that tree. ;)

As for the Gospel Media Network's own site (http://gospelmedianetwork.com/), it's surprisingly bear. God.com appears in the tab (remember that God.com recently hosted Yoo's books), and there's a video detailing the last days of Christ through twitter tweets. At the top right, there's a link that says "Part of the Gospel Media Network". That link takes you to www.gmn.org (http://www.gmn.org), which currently has the exact same material. I don't quite understand the point of posting a link to the exact same content^^. But perhaps it's all part of AHAE's and Kevin's plan to take over the Internet and the world.

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/gospelmedia_zpsc5259a60.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 28, 2014, 06:33:47 AM
Back to the manhunt, there's been another arrest and prosecutors are confident Yoo will be in custody soon: (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/27/49/0302000000AEN20140527007300315F.html)
Quote
Prosecutors said Tuesday that they are closing in on the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol ...

"The massive manhunt for Yoo Byung-eun is being carried out in a particular region and the prosecution, at this time, is checking the hometowns (of Yoo's close aides) on the possibility that he may have already escaped that region," Jeong Soon-sin, a prosecutor investigating the case, told a press briefing.

The prosecution office said it has also arrested Lee Jae-ok, a 49-year-old medical professor and one of Yoo's close aides, on suspicion of helping the owner evade the massive dragnet. Lee is under suspicion of planning Yoo's life as a fugitive and helping him evade detection for weeks, prosecutors said, adding that he also heads one of Yoo's foundations as well.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 28, 2014, 08:41:09 AM
Internal feud hits Yoo's religious cult (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_158000.html)
Quote
The religious cult led by Yoo Byeung-eun, the de-facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, is embroiled in an internal feud over how the group should deal with the prosecution's investigation of its fugitive leader.

Moderates are insisting that the Salvation Sect should cooperate with investigators, while hardliners are threatening to take radical measures to derail the ongoing investigation and protect the nation's most-wanted man.

According to the prosecution and the Salvation Sect Tuesday, Kim Seong-il, the chairman of the cult, recently resigned from his post.

Lee Tae-jong, a spokesperson for the Salvation Sect, said that the religious group accepted the resignation from Kim, who is regarded as a moderate. He had offered to resign by taking responsibility for the group's deepening internal strife.

Kim and other moderate members said that the Salvation Sect should actively cooperate with law enforcement authorities to clear all the suspicions currently surrounding the group.

However, the hardliners, who staged a rally Sunday in front of the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office following the arrest of group members, have insisted on resisting the prosecution in order to save Yoo.

Kim offered to step down from the post after failing to persuade the hardliners, according to the spokesman.

On May 21 when the prosecution raided Geumsuwon, a stronghold of the Salvation Sect, the group initially agreed to open the compound at 8 a.m. But investigators were only able to enter the site at around noon after hardliners protested the decision engineered by Kim and other moderate members.

With the radicals gaining increasing support, the religious group said its 100,000 followers will protect Yoo. ''We hope Yoo remains free. A hundred thousand followers will protect Yoo,'' said spokesman Lee.  ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 28, 2014, 11:09:31 AM
France 1, Korea 0.
Well, that was pretty quick. I guess being in France, there weren't many cultists on hand to help her lay low. Surely some of her father's Louvre friends could have hid her somewhere inside the famous museum? I'm really curious to know how they found her and where. Perhaps she turned herself in? Whatever happened, the Frenchies are putting the Korean police to shame.

Sunken ferry owner’s daughter detained in France (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140527001698)
Quote
French law enforcement authorities on Tuesday arrested the oldest daughter of Yoo Byung-eon, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, after the Korean police filed an Interpol red notice against two of the irregularity-ridden business tycoon’s four children last Friday.

Yoo’s daughter Som-na has been suspected of being paid shady funds from an affiliate of Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ill-fated Sewol, when she was the chief of a design firm.

After the extradition process, local investigators are expected to indict the 48-year-old suspect for pocketing company funds via alleged under-the-table deals with her father and family. Som-na had refused to respond to summons from the prosecution until now.
"... irregularity-ridden business tycoon"? That's a nice way of putting it :)

More here from The Korea Times: (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_158021.html)
Quote
Yoo Byung-eun's eldest daughter, Seom-na, also known as Ennette Yoo, has been arrested in Paris, the Ministry of Justice said Tuesday. The ministry said it has asked French authorities to extradite her.

The arrest came days after the 48-year-old daughter and Yoo's second son Keith Yoo, 42, were put on Interpol's wanted list. Yoo and his four children have been hiding here and abroad to avoid investigations into corruption allegations against them.

Ministry officials said the French authorities will decide whether or not to send Seom-na to Korea after holding hearings required for extradition. She is the first member of Yoo's family to be arrested regarding the ferry disaster.

Seom-na headed Moreal Design, a Seoul-based design agency that earned most of its revenues by working for affiliates owned by the Yoo family. She is suspected of having embezzled some 8 billion won while engaging in transactions with Yoo's firms, including Dapanda. ...

The prosecution recently found that the second son, Keith Yoo, made a failed attempt to fly to France from the United States.

http://www.morealdesign.com/ (http://www.morealdesign.com/)  Websites don't come much barer than that.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 29, 2014, 04:27:14 AM
A little more about those who have aided:
Yoo remains on run as oldest daughter arrested (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2989800)
Quote
... The restaurant where Yoo was hiding out has since closed down and was provided as a refuge by a couple who were adherents of the Evangelical Baptist Church, better known as Guwonpa or the Salvation Sect, a Christian cult founded by the troubled business tycoon.

The one-story building is inconspicuous, and the couple was running another restaurant just 300 meters (328 yards) away from the hideout.

On Sunday, prosecutors said they arrested a 33-year-old woman, surnamed Shin, who was allegedly running away with Yoo and staying there. The woman, who was also an adherent of his church, was found without him by prosecutors in the defunct eatery with several suitcases, water bottles and a Bible. She was suspected among several believers in aiding Yoo’s escape, prosecutors said, providing food and water to him in Suncheon city.

“After confirming his fingerprints, we are narrowing our search and focusing on Suncheon,” a prosecution official said.

Prosecutors also arrested Lee Jae-ok, chairman of Hemato-Centric Life, a health and medical equipment provider, on suspicion that he orchestrated Yoo’s overall escape plan.

He was known to have played a key role in opening the church to reporters on May 18 and holding a press conference there. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 29, 2014, 02:10:18 PM
FSS seeks to freeze Sewol cash flows (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140528001641)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 29, 2014, 03:23:45 PM
Daughter of Fugitive South Korea Ferry Owner Arrested, Faces Judge (http://m.voanews.com/a/daughter-of-fugitive-south-korea-ferry-owner-arrested-faces-judge/1924087.html)
Quote
Yoo Som-Na , 47, was arrested Tuesday at her home near the Champs-Elysees in Paris under an international arrest warrant issued May 8 by South Korean officials.

At the court hearing, a judge will determine whether Yoo should be detained in custody, pending a decision to extradite her to South Korea, or be released under judicial watch.
Yoo remains elusive as prosecutors narrow search (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2989839)
Quote
“After confirming his fingerprints, we are narrowing our search and focusing on Suncheon,” an official from the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office’s special investigation team said.

The most recent clues pointing to the 73-year-old’s potential whereabouts were found over the weekend at the shut-down eatery, where he was suspected of hiding earlier this month. The venue was provided as a refuge by a couple who were adherents of the Evangelical Baptist Church, more commonly known as Guwonpa, or the Salvation Sect, a Christian cult Yoo founded and ran.

Authorities arrested the couple as well as a 33-year-old woman surnamed Shin who is believed to have aided in Yoo’s escape and assisted him during his stay in Suncheon. The woman, who is also an adherent of his church, reportedly scuffled with prosecutors who closed in on them at the shuttered establishment on Sunday night to give him time to flee.

Prosecutors and police officers are narrowing their search on the mountainous areas flanking the restaurant. Judging from Yoo’s travel bag, which they found inside the restaurant, they believe he could not have gone far.

Several rugged mountain paths extend from the restaurant, most of which lead to the foot of Mount Jiri, the second-highest mountain in Korea.
That so reminds me of the first Rambo film First Blood. Recall that, according to his deleted profile at least (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=1000.0), Yoo is a martial arts expert:
Quote
He holds a seventh degree black belt in Taekwondo, is highly trained in Judo, and he has even developed his own style of exercise and self-defense.
Of course, he isn't getting any younger and spending four years in his bedroom couldn't have done much for his fitness:
Quote
Recently, in the course of four years, Ahae took more than 2.6 million photographs—all from just one window of his studio—recording the countless episodes that took place within his view amongst the creatures with whom we share our planet. ... During these four years Ahae was to be found at his window every day, come rain or shine, recording every natural feature and scene that catches his eye.
Will police searching the mountains start dropping off like flies ala the unfortunate cops in First Blood?

Sylvester Stallone | First Blood / Rambo [1982] | Teaser [HD] (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikBBYfsCNPI#)

Prosecution moves to seize Sewol owner family's assets (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/28/22/0302000000AEN20140528009452315F.html?c7ce2de0)
Quote
Prosecutors said Wednesday that they have taken legal steps to provisionally confiscate more than 200 billion won (US$196 million) worth of assets held by the owner family of the sunken ferry Sewol, as part of their efforts to hold the fugitive family criminally liable for the deadly disaster.

Yoo Byung-eun, head of the now-defunct predecessor of the ferry's operator, Chonghaejin Marine Co., and his family are suspected to have accumulated at least 240 billion won worth of earnings both at home and abroad through various crimes, prosecutors said.
Recall that in his only lawyer-issued public statement Yoo said that his wealth only amounted to 10 billion and that he was willing to give all that up. (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=994.ms) What a guy:
Quote
A lawyer representing Yoo Byung-eon told the Chosun Ilbo on Thursday that reports that Yoo's assets total W240 billion are not true and he is only worth around W10 billion. ...

Son said Yoo, a former chairman of Chonghaejin, has nonetheless "voiced his willingness to donate his entire W10 billion estate due to his deep sorrow for those who lost their lives aboard the Sewol."
And then he ran away.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 30, 2014, 12:25:41 AM
Fugitive Korean tycoon's daughter detained in Paris as part of Sewol investigation (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-28/korean-tycoon27s-daughter-detained-in-france-as-part-of-sew/5485238)
Quote
The daughter of a fugitive Korean tycoon accused of being responsible for last month's ferry disaster has been detained in custody in France, pending extradition proceedings. Judicial sources said a judge decided against releasing Yoo Som-Na on bail following her arrest on Tuesday under an international arrest warrant.
Court temporarily freezes Sewol owner family's assets (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/05/29/53/0302000000AEN20140529008100315F.html)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 30, 2014, 12:50:37 PM
Ferry Owner's Daughter Fighting Extradition (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/05/29/2014052900639.html)
Quote
A French court on Wednesday rejected a bail request by the eldest daughter of Yoo Byung-eon, the de facto owner of Chonghaejin Marine, who was arrested in Paris on Tuesday. The decision came after the court reviewed the legality of her detention.

The court will now review the extradition of Yoo Sum-na (48) at the request of the Korean government while she remains in detention for up to 40 days. ...

But Yoo Sum-na has hired a high-profile lawyer to fight the extradition. Patrick Maisonneuve has defended a PR agency that was linked to an election funding scandal involving former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Omar Bongo, the former leader of Gabon. In 2009, Maisonneuve also defended the Church of Scientology on charges of profiting illegally.

Yoo Sum-na was alone when she was arrested by French police. She disappeared from her Paris apartment for a while when prosecutors in Korea began a massive investigation of her family last month but was nabbed during an early-morning raid.

The apartment on rue de Cerisoles near the Arc de Triomphe is just a five-minute walk from the French subsidiary of her father's company. The posh neighborhood is full of luxury boutiques and hotels, and apartments there command the highest prices in Paris. Yoo's apartment is on the second floor of a six-story building. It has two bedrooms and monthly rent is around 7,000 euros.

Her arrest has focused attention on the whereabouts of her husband, who owns a 15-percent stake in a publishing company owned by the Yoo family.

He became CEO of the publishing company only last month, taking over from Yoo Byung-eon's second son, Hyuk-ki, and apparently returned to Korea from France to deal with the ongoing investigation, but it is unclear where he is now.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 30, 2014, 10:34:58 PM
The first link is from last month. I missed it, but thankfully someone else didn't. It's a fascinating and insightful look at the names Yoo chose for his company and alter ego and their religious/cosmic/cultish significance. Another cult I try to keep track of is called Shinchonji which means new heaven and earth. I regret to say I didn't notice that the "chon" and "ji" (heaven and earth) make up two thirds of the ferry company's name CheonHaeJi.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/culture/2014/05/316_157689.html (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/culture/2014/05/316_157689.html)

Prosecution seeks warrant for Yoo’s aide (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140529001575)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on May 30, 2014, 11:50:50 PM
Quote
Quote
Several rugged mountain paths extend from the restaurant, most of which lead to the foot of Mount Jiri, the second-highest mountain in Korea.
That so reminds me of the first Rambo film ...
And today comes news he could be armed  (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_158152.html):o
Quote
Yoo Byung-eun, the owner of the sunken ferry Sewol currently on the run from authorities, may be armed with at least two handguns, according to a former aide. The claim has prompted safety concerns for investigators trying to track him down because it is feared Yoo could resort to violence if confronted by them. Most police officers except for those on serious crime squads don't carry firearms.

"I saw Yoo with two pistols when I worked for him," Lee Cheong, Yoo's former secretary, told a TV program. Lee once served as the captain of a cruise ship owned by Yoo, but no longer works for him. "He practiced shooting by placing targets on a concrete wall. He also had an air rifle. I witnessed him shooting magpies and squirrels," Lee said.

A spokesman for the Salvation Sect, allegedly led by Yoo, said that this was groundless. "I don't think he carries guns. I've never heard of him practicing shooting," he said. (And what a trustworthy bunch they're shown themselves to be)

Kwak Dae-gyung, a professor of police administration at Dongguk University, commented in an interview with TV Chosun that the police have prepared themselves against such concerns by arming officers conducting the search for Yoo. ...

Prosecutors said that Yoo and his eldest son, Yoo Dae-gyun, aren't together any more. They assume that the son is hiding in North Gyeongsang Province, specifically in Daegu.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 01, 2014, 08:04:52 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/23/south-korea-ferry-owner-home-raided_n_5196923.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/23/south-korea-ferry-owner-home-raided_n_5196923.html)

http://koreabizwire.com/yoos-semo-group-expected-to-go-bankrupt-as-creditors-recall-loans/11022 (http://koreabizwire.com/yoos-semo-group-expected-to-go-bankrupt-as-creditors-recall-loans/11022)

http://english.khan.co.kr/khan_art_view.html?artid=201405261634167&code=710100 (http://english.khan.co.kr/khan_art_view.html?artid=201405261634167&code=710100)

Yoo’s alleged getaway car found in Jeonju (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140530001452)
Quote
The prosecution has embarked an investigation into a sedan that is believed to have been used as a getaway car by Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, and some of his followers.

Investigators on Friday secured an EF Sonata, which was reportedly parked unoccupied at a lot in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province.

While the prosecution alleged the car’s license plate coincided with the earlier wanted car, it is looking into video from closed-circuit televisions on highways and other regional roads to verify the passengers.

Fingerprinting identification is also being carried out by a forensic science tem of the North Jeolla Provincial Police.

Aside from the Sonata sedan, a Bentley premium sedan is one of the few wanted lists by investigators in the hunt for business tycoon Yoo.

Following former intelligence that Yoo was hiding out in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, police recently received a tip-off that the fugitive and some of his followers had used the “partisan route” on Mount Jirisan as their path of escape to other regions.

Some observers again suggested that Yoo may have already fled abroad.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 01, 2014, 09:16:02 AM
I popped down to Anseong hoping to see the magical room that Ahae took his 2.7 million photos from over 4 years (some would call spending 4 years in the one room the height of laziness). Anyway, I asked to enter the compound to see Ahae's room, but the rather friendly guy at the gate said no. I didn't think crying would have changed his mind, so I didn't push the matter further. "Maybe another day?" I asked hopefully. "Yes."

So instead of seeing the window Ahae took 2.7 million photos of, I had to be content with filming some of the 2.7 million police officers in the area as they hunted for the subject of Michael Nyman's 6th Symphony:

May 31, 2014: Cops Looking for the Subject of Michael Nyman's 6th Symphony Outside Cult Compound (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMWQDB5n-V8#)

Where is Yoo? (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/05/116_158229.html)
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... This week, the prosecution arrested eight people, including Lee Jae-oak, chairman of Hemato Centric Foundation, on charges of sheltering Yoo or assisting him in fleeing from justice. The rest are the members of the Salvation Sect, a religious cult led by Yoo.

Investigators have questioned the detainees about the whereabouts of the two suspects, but failed to extract information from any of them.

A prosecutor at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office said Friday that Yoo is hiding in downtown Suncheon, stressing that investigators will be able to apprehend him by this weekend.

"We have discovered several apartments in downtown Suncheon, owned by Yoo's aides. We think the units could be used as his hideout," the prosecutor said. "We think the fugitive hasn't been able to get out of Suncheon yet. We will soon be able to get him."

According to the prosecution, a 56-year-old man, surnamed Yang, who is familiar with the geographic features of Suncheon, has been guiding Yoo since he left the initial safe house. Yang is reportedly driving a silver EF Sonata sedan.

"The followers of the Salvation Sect in Suncheon are helping Yoo," the prosecutor said. "We also found that the fugitive has been in regular contact with his aides at Geumsuwon, the stronghold of the sect."

Cult Followers Aiding Ferry Owner's Escape Clam Up (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/05/29/2014052901510.html)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 02, 2014, 08:20:55 AM
I recall reading about the captain's low salary on a blog a few weeks ago, but this is the first time I have noticed in an article. The AP article looks at the huge legal mess that is just beginning: (http://www.omaha.com/news/world/can-south-korea-conduct-fair-trial-of-ferry-crew/article_7c494a5c-59b1-510f-97a5-979bc5a1f05e.html)
Quote
Can South Korea conduct fair trial of ferry crew?
There are allegations that the ferry operator, Chonghaejin Marine Co., dangerously overloaded the vessel and gave crew members inadequate emergency training, and some company officials also have been arrested. But they may be better able to defend themselves than the crew. The fugitive head of Chonghaejin, Yoo Byung-eun, is a billionaire. The Sewol's captain, Lee Joon-seok, reportedly made 2.7 million won ($2,635) a month. ...

Kang cited early media reports about the captain and crewmembers that rendered them as evil. For example, South Korean media reported that the captain was drying his money at the hospital while passengers were still trapped in the ship, which Kang said the captain denied.

The captain and three other crew members are charged with homicide (Correction: I believe the charge is a form of manslaughter)— a charge that could carry the death penalty, though South Korea has not executed anyone in the 21st century. Prosecutors accuse them of tacitly colluding to abandon the ship while being aware that the passengers would be trapped and killed when the ship sank.

At the same time, prosecutors accuse their employer of providing the crew too little training. They allege that Chonghaejin Marine did not abide by the rules that required regular training of Sewol sailors for safety and maritime accidents, a claim bolstered by a former Sewol crew member. There are various requirements, but the captain must conduct emergency training for crew every 10 days.

According to Chonghaejin's budget, it spent just 541,000 won ($528) on crew training last year. ...
I'd love to know how much Yoo spent on inventing and promoting his AHAE persona. I'm sure the LSO and Michael Nyman cost more than $500.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 02, 2014, 09:38:51 AM
Lots of cops and a few more arrests.
50,000 police officers mobilized to search for Yoo (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_158279.html)
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Nearly 50,000 police officers have been mobilized in the hunt for fugitive Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol. The number of officers deployed for the operation doubled from 24,000 to almost 50,000, beginning May 27, police said. ...

A silver Sonata sedan, which Yoo was suspected of using, was found in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, on May 29.

In CCTV footage checked by the prosecution, the car arrived at the car park of a funeral hall on May 25 and a man and woman got out.

The man was initially believed to be Yoo, but the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office later stated that it wasn't. No fingerprints of Yoo were found inside the sedan.

According to Yonhap News, the prosecution assumes that Yoo is still in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, and his followers left the vehicle in Jeonju to confuse the prosecution.

The prosecution took three followers of the Salvation Sect in Jeonju into custody Sunday over suspicions that they helped Yoo escape.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 02, 2014, 11:29:10 AM
"The followers of the Salvation Sect in Suncheon are helping Yoo," the prosecutor said. "We also found that the fugitive has been in regular contact with his aides at Geumsuwon, the stronghold of the sect."

The woman in this picture was rather nervously watching the police road block while talking to someone on her cell phone.
She was standing about 50 meters from the main entrance to the compound. I wonder if she was talking to the big guy? Perhaps I blew my chance at the 500 grand by not snatching her phone and giving it to the cops??

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/May31cultists_zps5a8165d3.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 03, 2014, 01:13:42 PM
June 2, 2014: Prosecution under fire for failing to capture Yoo (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_158369.html)
Quote
The manhunt, employing 50,000 police, has turned up empty; while prosecutors don't appear to have a clue about Yoo's whereabouts.

Facing a great deal of pressure, Prosecutor General Kim Jin-tae added 10 more prosecutors to the search operation, Monday. He said that those helping Yoo, who do not cooperate in the investigation, will be "punished with zero tolerance." In a media briefing, prosecutors compared the followers' organized support for Yoo's escape to a "military operation."

"The Salvation Sect followers in Geumsuwon moved in teams and shared a sense of motivation in helping Yoo escape. When they are detained, they resist violently. This is reminiscent of a well-planned military operation," a prosecutor told reporters.

Prosecutors assume that Yoo has supporters across all sectors of society, who may be keeping him informed about the progress of the investigation. They didn't rule out the possibility that Yoo's "informants" may include investigators. The prosecution suspects Yoo fled because he was given details about the investigation.

It identified the leader of operations within Geumsuwon, the stronghold of the cult followers in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, as "Mother Kim," who reportedly worships Yoo. She is allegedly ordering followers to raise funds for Yoo, arrange places for him to hide and collect information about the prosecution and police's operations.

While she has yet to be taken into custody, another person suspected of participating in efforts to hide Yoo ― Lee Jae-oak, chairman of Hemato-Centric Life Foundation ― has been arrested. Prosecutors have detained or arrested 11 followers of the cult who are suspected of assisting Yoo.

From yesterday (June 1): Prosecutors Detain Sect Members Who Helped Yoo Flee (http://www.tbs.seoul.kr/news/bunya.do?method=daum_html&typ_800=P&seq_800=10027116)
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Prosecutors have detained 3 members of the so-called salvation sect on suspicion of aiding Yoo Byung-eun in fleeing. The suspects have reportedly been detained in Jeonju and are being transferred to the Incheon Prosecutor's Office. However, it has not been confirmed whether these suspects were passengers in the car used by Yoo to flee. Prosecutors are expected to question the suspects on Yoo's whereabouts before possibly filing for their arrest warrants. Earlier today, prosecutors conducted a fingerprint test on the car found in Jeonju, but were unable to obtain any evidence. They still believe Yoo could be hiding near Suncheon, and are narrowing the search area.

And today (June 2), they were released because they said they didn't do it :o
Investigators Release Three Salvation Sect Followers (http://www.tbs.seoul.kr/news/bunya.do?method=daum_html&typ_800=P&seq_800=10027302)
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Investigators have released three Salvation Sect followers which had been previously arrested on charges of helping Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the Sewol ferry, evade authorities. According to an official from the investigative team, all three followers were let go after they confessed they had no direct involvement with Yoo's flight. Meanwhile, prosecutors aren't ruling out the possibility that Yoo is hiding at the Geum Suwon facility in Anseong, Gyeonggi province. Officials are considering re-entering the religious center to look for the fugitive owner as well as to arrest those who are aiding in Yoo's escape]

June 2 (9pm): Prosecution vows increased effort to arrest sunken ferry's owner (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140602001836)
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Prosecutors investigating April's deadly ferry sinking apologized Monday for so far failing to arrest the ferry operator's fugitive owner, vowing to apprehend him as quickly as possible.

A massive manhunt has been under way for weeks for Yoo Byung-eun, who is wanted for a string of corruption charges and irregularities that are believed to have contributed to the April 16 sinking of the Sewol that claimed more than 300 lives.

Police have previously combed through the city of Suncheon, 415 kilometers south of Seoul, and a religious retreat run by Yoo's religious sect in Gyeonggi Province attempting to arrest Yoo. But the 73-year-old fugitive has been one step ahead of the police search.

"I am well aware of pubic concerns and criticism over the delay in efforts to take legal action against Yoo and his family, who contributed to the tragedy of the ferry Sewol," said Kim Hoe-jong, the head of the special investigation team at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office. "As the head of the investigation, I feel very sorry. The prosecution will make utmost efforts to arrest the Yoo family as soon as possible and to bring them to justice," Kim said.

The prosecutor also warned against any attempts to help Yoo evade the dragnet, saying the prosecution will never tolerate such attempts and take punitive action on those who are caught helping the Yoo family.

Prosecutors suspect that Yoo effectively owns Chonghaejin Marine Co., the ill-fated ferry's operator, through two of his sons and is responsible for the ship's allegedly lax safety practices. Motivated by profit, the operator overloaded the ship with passengers and cargo even though its balance was substantially compromised after a remodeling.

As part of its efforts to arrest the owner family, the prosecution last week hiked the amount of the rewards for information leading to the arrests of Yoo and his eldest son, Dae-kyun, to 500 million won (US$488,158) and 100 million won, respectively.

Also on Monday, the prosecution added 10 more prosecutors and investigators to the special investigation team as they stepped up the manhunt for the Yoo family.

The prosecution is reportedly planning to search the religious retreat in Gyeonggi Province again to investigate the possibility that Yoo's followers are helping the fugitives. There has even been speculation that Yoo or his son may have snuck back into the compound after the initial search failed to find them on the premises.  "People guarding the compound have beefed up efforts to check and screen anyone entering the religious retreat," an investigator said.
Well I hope Yoo and his minions haven't read that article. Certainly regarding the compound, the police have done an excellent job keeping the cult informed of their plans. Perhaps the problem isn't informants; perhaps the problem is the police's willingness to share details about upcoming raids. Seriously guys, these kinds of things need to be surprises.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 03, 2014, 10:50:02 PM
June 2, 2014: Why Has the Ferry Owner Still Not Been Arrested? (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/06/02/2014060201695.html)
Quote
... Yoo is no ordinary fugitive who has to rely on his wits. He is being assisted by fanatical members of his cult who revere him as a god. He has ample cash and access to mobile phones registered in fake names. In late April, when he was still holed up at the compound, his followers had already prepared a safe house for him near Suncheon, South Jeolla Province. They installed blackout blinds on the windows to make it appear as if the house was empty and supplied Yoo with tools to install new license plates on his getaway car.

Yet when prosecutors searched the safe house in Suncheon on May 25, they wasted valuable time arguing with a restaurant owner and his wife who live nearby and a Korean-American woman who is a follower of Yoo's sect. Yoo had apparently fled hours before prosecutors arrived there. Had investigators worked with local police, they might have succeeded in arresting him.

If prosecutors fail to capture Yoo, they may be unable to bring legal closure to this tragedy. Lawmakers plan to hold a National Assembly hearing on the ferry sinking, but it is sure to fail unless the prime suspect is captured. ...

http://khnews.kheraldm.com/view.php?ud=20140602001618&md=20140603003113_BK (http://khnews.kheraldm.com/view.php?ud=20140602001618&md=20140603003113_BK)

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/02/88/0302000000AEN20140602007651315F.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/02/88/0302000000AEN20140602007651315F.html)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 04, 2014, 10:30:13 AM
Well someone blew their chance to claim the $500,000 reward ;)

June 3, 2014: South Korean, 73, linked to ferry disaster fails in asylum bid (http://news.yahoo.com/south-korean-73-linked-ferry-disaster-fails-asylum-074008225.html?utm_source=twitterfeed)
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A South Korean businessman and Christian sect leader, wanted on charges tied to a ferry disaster in which more than 300 passengers drowned, sought asylum at a Seoul embassy but was rejected, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Yoo Byung-un, 73, is wanted on charges of embezzlement, negligence and tax evasion stemming from his control of a web of business interests centered on an investment firm owned by his sons that owned the operator of the doomed Sewol that sank on April 16.

"By international law, Yoo Byung-un is not a refugee but is a fugitive with an arrest warrant outstanding, so anyone who helps him flee will be deemed to be aiding his escape and will be firmly punished," a prosecutor said.

A person acting for Yoo contacted an embassy and asked about the possibility of Yoo seeking political asylum, he said. ...
Fugitive Sewol owner tries to seek asylum: prosecution (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/03/33/0302000000AEN20140603004151315F.html)
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The fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol attempted to seek asylum at a foreign embassy in Seoul last week, but was denied due to his status as a criminal suspect, prosecutors said Tuesday.

A massive manhunt has been under way for weeks for Yoo Byung-eun, who is wanted for a string of corruption charges and irregularities that are believed to have contributed to the April 16 sinking of the Sewol that claimed the lives of nearly 300 people, mostly high school students.

"An anonymous person recently sounded out a foreign embassy in Seoul for Yoo's political asylum," said Kim Hoe-jong, the head of the special investigation team at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office.

"The embassy declined to offer an asylum to (Yoo) as he is a criminal suspect," Kim added, without discosing the name of the country due to diplomatic reasons.

The prosecution office also asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to once again explain to foreign embassies here that Yoo should not be granted an asylum status as he is the main suspect behind the Sewol disaster, Kim said.

Prosecutors suspect that Yoo -- a religious figure and ex-convict-- effectively owns Chonghaejin Marine Co., the ill-fated ferry's operator, through two of his sons and is responsible for the ship's allegedly lax safety practices.
Yoo denied political asylum (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_158408.html)
Quote
... "Yoo may insist that he is subject to religious and political persecution, but he can't be a refugee because he is just a criminal suspect who is believed to have embezzled 129.2 billion won ($126 million) from Chonghaejin Marine and other affiliates and evaded paying a huge amount of taxes. The charges have nothing to do with religion or politics," said a senior prosecutor at an unofficial briefing.  ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 04, 2014, 11:53:32 AM
Here's a great review of all the crazyness to date: http://www.keytokorean.com/blog/in-the-news/falling-down-the-rabbit-hole-in-search-of-koreas-most-wanted-man/ (http://www.keytokorean.com/blog/in-the-news/falling-down-the-rabbit-hole-in-search-of-koreas-most-wanted-man/)

This site and the people working so hard to keep wikipedia updated and propaganda free get some nice plugs :)

And in the list of resources from the above link is this Korean article which features photos of the cult's (http://news.sportsseouli.com/read/economy/1360864.htm) abandoned subway cars :o

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/20146061398236940_zps218e01d0.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 05, 2014, 01:25:36 AM
A little more on Yoo's failed asylum attempt, an arrest warrant for "Mother Kim", and another potential confrontation at cult HQ.
Yoo requests embassy in Seoul to aid his asylum (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2990120)
Quote
Authorities pursuing Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken Sewol ferry, yesterday discovered that the 73-year-old has asked an unknown embassy in Seoul for political asylum.

“We found out that an unidentified person visited an embassy in Korea and requested Yoo’s asylum,” said a prosecutor of the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office’s special investigation team. “We heard the embassy has denied the request, citing that he is only a criminal.” ...

The prosecution reportedly received an arrest warrant for a 58-year-old devotee of the sect, who is known only as Kim Eomma, or Mother Kim. She is thought to be the leader of a female believers’ group and is under suspicion of orchestrating the escape of the two runaways with the aid of Lee Jae-oak, the 49-year-old head of Hemato-Centric Life Foundation. Lee was arrested by the prosecution last week.

Prosecutors assume Mother Kim is at Geumsuwon, the sect’s religious compound in Anseong, Gyeonggi, and that she has provided general support to the two fugitives, ranging from providing goods to supplying financial support.

The prosecution also did not rule out the possibility that more believers of the religious sect aided Yoo or that he has returned to the compound.

Having heard that the prosecution might search Guwonpa again, the sect has made it clear that they won’t let the prosecution step into Geumsuwon.

“We have decided in the meeting that we cannot open the door without legitimate reason,” said a spokesperson of the sect. “The prosecution isn’t trying to negotiate and we don’t even expect it to.”
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 05, 2014, 09:35:43 AM
The embassy that refused Yoo has been revealed. I'm glad to hear it wasn't the Australian Embassy because I'd like to think the Australian Embassy would have said yes to the asylum request and then turned Yoo over to the police to collect the half million dollar reward. ;)

Yoo sought asylum at French Embassy (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_158530.html)
Quote
According to the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office Tuesday, Yoo Byeung-eun, owner of the sunken Sewol ferry, sought political asylum at the French Embassy with help from an unidentified aide last week but his request was denied. The embassy reportedly refused Yoo refuge, on grounds that he is a criminal suspect.

Now there is speculation in the Korean language media about who attempted to assist the nation's most-wanted fugitive evade prosecution. A number of domestic newspapers claim that it was Gabriel Oh, former Korean Ambassador to the Czech Republic, who contacted the French Embassy on behalf of the former Semo Group Chairman. Oh is Yoo's brother-in-law.

The career diplomat, who has built up an extensive human network overseas over the past 35 years, is currently under review by the foreign ministry's disciplinary committee for allegations that he abused his authority to help Yoo set up a photo exhibition in France and other European countries. He served as the ambassador from January 2010 through June 2013. ...

A prosecutor at Incheon District Prosecutors' Office said ... ''We are looking into who might have helped Yoo seek political asylum. Whoever it was, the person aiding the fugitive will be strictly subject to prosecution in accordance with the law.''
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 05, 2014, 10:53:22 PM
I'm not sure "donations" is the right word (cult leaders don't make donations, especially ones previously convicted of fraud^), but this is still one very interesting article which outlines AHAE's activities in France. The "donations" enabled Yoo to hold his exhibitions which in turn helped him "encourage" members of his cult to spend millions on them which in turn helps maintain the inflated prices. And of course, the photos offer Yoo's companies opportunity to funnel money to him directly.

Yoo tried using clout in France (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2990163)
Quote
... Yoo and his family are believed to have connections with prominent French artists, collectors and museum officials thanks to the patriarch’s exhibitions of his own photographs and other artistic endeavors and donations. Yoo’s artistic pseudonym is Ahae.

From June to August 2012, an exhibition of Yoo’s work titled “De ma Fenetre” (Through My Window) was held at a pavilion in the Tuileries Garden of Paris’s Louvre Museum.

Yoo invited prominent artists and museum authorities to the exhibit.

The Louvre engraved Yoo’s pseudonym on one of its walls as a token of appreciation for a donation reported to be 1.6 billion won ($1.56 million).

The tycoon was also the sole patron to fund the remodeling of the Bosquet du Theatre d’Eau (Water Theatre Grove) on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. He donated more than 1 billion won to the theater. The official website of Versailles recognizes Yoo as a donor.

The question now is whether Yoo’s connections in France will help his daughter’s legal case. They didn’t seem to help his asylum bid. Local media outlets said Yoo’s middleman also made asylum enquiries at the embassies of the Philippines and Canada.

Yoo also bought the entire abandoned village of Courbefy in central France for approximately $66,300 at an auction in 2012. At the time, he said that he wanted to start a cultural project in the abandoned village.

“We are investigating now who approached the French Embassy in Seoul,” said a prosecutor in Incheon.

“Yoo has close ties with many diplomatic figures such as Oh Gap-ryeol, a former ambassador to the Czech Republic.”

Also evading arrest is Yoo’s eldest son Dae-gyun who bought an airplane ticket to France last month but didn’t board the plane. Yoo’s second son, Hyeok-gi, who is believed to live in the United States, also attempted to make his way to France but didn’t get on his booked flight.

Prosecutors yesterday arrested a man who allegedly helped Yoo Dae-gyun evade arrest. Investigators say the man is an adherent of a religious sect led by the elder Yoo.

Authorities believe followers of the Christian sect are hiding Yoo and his son or aiding and abetting them.

From the beginning, the police warned that anyone who helps Yoo evade arrest faces up to three years in prison. They said that even lending a cell phone or offering food to the absconding sect leader could be liable for punishment.

So far, 12 people have been arrested for helping Yoo and his son.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 06, 2014, 11:23:05 AM
Two aides to fugitive Sewol owner put under arrest (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/05/19/0302000000AEN20140605006300315F.html)

Yoo’s in-law arrested for embezzlement (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140604000971)
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Investigators on Wednesday arrested the brother-in-law of Yoo Byung-eun, de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, for engaging in dubious intra-group deals as the head of a unit of Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ill-fated vessel.

According to the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office, the suspect Kwon Oh-kyun allegedly pocketed company funds to illicitly transfer to the fugitive Yoo and his children.

Kwon is working for the irregularity-saddled Chonghaejin group as chief of Trigon Korea, a core of sister firm of Chonghaejin Marine. He is one of the key leaders of the Salvation Sect, which is reportedly led by Yoo.

Earlier in the day, Investigators arrested a close aide of Yoo Dae-gyun, the oldest son of Byung-eun for helping the wanted businessman flee.

The 57-year-old aide, surnamed Lee, has been suspected of providing Dae-gyun with hideouts by driving unregistered vehicles as a chauffeur. He was captured at an apartment complex in the Yeongtong District in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province.

According to the prosecution, Lee is also under suspicion of handling slush funds held by Yoo’s family, which included offertories given by devotees of the Salvation Sect reportedly led by the Sewol owner.

The prosecution is set to ask the Incheon District Court to issue an arrest warrant for Lee to take him into custody after interrogating him over allegations that he played a key role in Dae-gyun’s getaway and concealed illicit profit raked in by the Yoo family.

Investigators allege that the eldest son has hidden himself in an area in North Gyeongsang Province.

Last weekend, a sedan, owned by the aide Lee, was found in Naegok-dong in southern Seoul. Some misreports claimed that Dae-gyun was spotted getting in the backseat of the car.

As of 11 p.m., Wednesday, the investigative team composed of more than 80 prosecutors and policemen have arrested 13 confidants of Yoo Byung-eun and his son. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 07, 2014, 03:02:39 AM
This June 5 editorial mentions JMS and his 9 years on the run. His fugitive status at the time I encountered his cult (2003) was one of the factors that led me to start this site. Déjà vu:

Yoos’ wings must be clipped (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2990183)
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Yoo Byung-eun, the fugitive billionaire wanted for questioning on a number of fraud and malpractice charges as de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, has been rejected by a third country after requesting political asylum, prosecutors said.

Yoo, 73, and his son defied repeated summons by prosecutors and went into hiding. A 50 million won (about $488,000) reward has been posted for information on his whereabouts. Last week, Yoo sought asylum at a foreign embassy in Seoul, citing political and religious persecution. The embassy turned down his request as he is on the run from a number of criminal charges.

But the information suggests that Yoo is trying to flee the country. Yoo and his eldest son, Dae-gyun, who was running the ferry’s operating company Chonghaejin, are suspected of illicitly funnelling funds into the family’s private fortune at the expense of the Sewol’s safety. Many have raised concerns about the two escaping overseas, and evidence pointed out that Yoo has been hiding in the port city of Suncheon, South Jeolla. Yoo could use his business connections from 25 years of involvement in the ferry business to escape as a stowaway.

A criminal case is jeopardized if the primary suspect flees to another country. The case against Cho Hee-pal, a notorious con man, went nowhere after he managed to run away to China in 2008 after pulling the largest-ever pyramid scheme, amounting to losses of more than 4 trillion won. Religious cult leader Jeong Myung-seok, accused of raping female followers, was on the international wanted list for nine years before he was caught and returned to Korea in 2008. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 07, 2014, 10:02:42 AM
The headline says Yoo requested asylum from 4 embassies, but if you read a little further, it seems that's more speculation that fact. There are, however, (yet again) some interesting new tidbits buried within:
Yoo contacted 4 embassies for asylum (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_158642.html)
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Yoo Byung-eun, fugitive and owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, has reportedly contacted numerous embassies in Seoul, including those of France, Canada, the Czech Republic and the Philippines, to seek political asylum.

The Korean government and each embassy have refused to confirm the media reports, citing possible diplomatic issues. However, circumstantial evidence shows he has submitted asylum requests to foreign missions here through his aides. ...

Canada is also being considered because the Salvation sect has a 299,000-square-meter compound there for its followers, according to Yonhap News. ...

The criminal trial of eight people close to Yoo, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, will start June 16 at Incheon District Court. They include Song Gook-bin, CEO of Dapanda; Lee Jae-young, CEO of Ahae; Lee Gang-se, former CEO of Ahae; Byeon Gi-choon, CEO of Chonhaeji; Ko Chang-hwa, CEO of Semo; Park Seung-il, auditor of I-One-I Holdings; Kim Dong-hwan, senior executive at I-One-I Holdings; and Oh Kyung-seok, CEO of Hemato-Centric Life Institute.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 08, 2014, 02:16:21 AM
http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2990269 (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2990269)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 09, 2014, 11:22:47 AM
Denials from the Salvation Sect that Yoo sought asylum and thousands of followers gather (again) at the compound to defend against an expected police raid to arrest "Mother" Kim and search for Yoo:
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_158738.html (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_158738.html)

And a few new and recent links just appeared in my inbox courtesy of a very resourceful researcher^:

June 3, 2014: http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=050000&biid=2014060387008 (http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=050000&biid=2014060387008)
Quote
... She (President Park) is also stepping up harsh criticism against the family of Yoo Byeong-eon, former chairman of Semo Group and who is an alleged main culprit of Sewol sinking. President Park said, "Their flight fundamentally damages Korea`s legal order," adding, "They must be promptly arrested for the sake of recovering legal order among other reasons." She said, "Various suspicions and illegal actions of the Yoo family in asset creation was not possible without the help of protection forces. These should be revealed at all cost to make our country a place where people mock the nation and its people and put the society in chaos can never reside."

The maverick faction of Guwonpa (heathen Salvation sect), which is alleged to be helping the flight of Yoo, released a statement mocking presidential chief of staff Kim Ki-choon, thus challenging public authority. President Park thus decided to directly intervene to press the heathen sect. ...
June 5, 2014: Elusive Sewol owner uses phones under borrowed names (http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2014060513008)
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Former Semo Group Chairman Yoo Byeong-eon, de-facto owner of the shipping company that operated the sunken ferry Sewol, has been found to have evaded the law enforcement agencies` tracing by using mobile phones under names borrowed from the children of the followers of the Salvation Sect known to be following him.
The special investigation team at the Incheon District Prosecutors` Office said Wednesday that a man surnamed Chu, 60, who is allegedly in charge of the cult`s operation in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province and helped Yoo run away from the law enforcement agencies` tracking, had asked a cult follower surnamed Kim, 72, to open phones under borrowed names.

At that time, the phone that Chu took over from Kim was opened under the name of a son of Kim`s. However, Kim claimed that he was not aware that the phone would be used for Yoo`s escape from law enforcement.

It is known that Kim`s son is not a follower of Yoo`s cult but let his name be used for Yoo`s phone at the father`s request. The law enforcement authorities believe that close aides to Yoo seemed to have used mobile phones under borrowed names in order to escape the prosecution`s tracking after they decided to use a mountain villa in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province as his hideout on April 29. After confirming that Yoo had been using a mobile phone under borrowed names, investigators raided seven villas in Suncheon on May 31, only to fail.

The police and prosecution are looking for additional clues while analyzing mobile phone communication records left by Yoo and his aides. However, there have reportedly been no traces indicating the use of the mobile phone under the name of Kim`s son since his hiding in Suncheon was revealed. The law enforcement agencies are now investigating whether Yoo is using new mobile phones under some followers of the cult.
June 5, 2014:Two aides to fugitive Sewol owner put under arrest (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/140605/two-aides-fugitive-sewol-owner-put-under-arrest)
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Two aides to the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol have been put under emergency arrest to face questioning in connection with the deadly disaster that claimed the lives of nearly 300 people, mostly high school students, prosecutors said Thursday.

"Beside the two put under the emergency arrest, we have also quizzed others who are accused of helping Yoo flee," said Kim Hoe-jong, the head of the special investigation team.

Kim added that Cho Pyeong-soon, another very close aide to Yoo, was summoned Thursday to face questioning on charges of managing the owner family's massive assets hidden under borrowed names.
June 8, 2014: Prosecutors set to summon Yoo’s wife (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140608000492)
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The prosecution is poised to summon the wife of Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, in a bid to put more psychological pressure on the fugitive, investigators said Sunday.

Prosecutors bought up their plan to summon Yoo’s wife Kwon Yoon-ja after the Incheon District Court issued an arrest warrant for Yoo’s brother in-law, Kwon Oh-kyun, on Saturday.

The wife’s younger brother Kwon became the first figure among Yoo’s family, relatives and in-laws to be taken into custody. He is suspected of embezzling company funds from a unit of Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ill-fated Sewol.

Though Yoo has reportedly been separated from his wife, on the suspicion of colluding embezzlement, for several years, the prosecution is aiming to pressure Yoo by targeting his wife and a few in-laws for interrogation.

Yoo’s oldest son Dae-kyun has already been on a nationwide wanted list with a reward offered and his two other children ― Seom-na and Hyuk-gi ― are also targets for investigators.

So far, none of Yoo’s family and relatives have responded to law enforcement authorities’ summons.

The prosecution on Sunday placed eight followers of Yoo on the wanted list for allegations that they helped him escape and offered hideouts.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 10, 2014, 10:39:25 AM
June 9, 2014: Ferry Owner 'Hiding Near Coast' (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/06/09/2014060900786.html)
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Yoo Byung-eon, the fugitive de facto owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, is believed to be hiding on the coast after escaping investigators as they closed in on his hideout in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province.

According to the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office on Sunday, Yoo and a supporter have been moving along the port cities of Mokpo, Haenam, Wando and Muan. Investigators are scrutinizing CCTV footage of the major ports there.

On Sunday, prosecutors raided a farm in Haenam, South Jeolla Province run by a follower of Yoo's cult and a nearby salt warehouse that belongs to the fugitive. They believe he is hiding out in one of his properties in the region in the hope of escaping by boat.

Meanwhile, prosecutors arrested another five followers of Yoo's sect on charges of aiding his escape.
June 9: Yoo attempting to flee country (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_158787.html)
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Yoo Byung-eun, the owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, is said to be on the move in the country's southwestern coastal areas, the prosecution said Monday.

Investigators have secured circumstantial evidence that Korea's most-wanted fugitive has contacted an organized crime ring to obtain a bogus passport in order to leave Korea.

They believe that Yoo is still in Korea, and are stepping up searches in Haenam, Mokpo and other port cities in South Jeolla Province to prevent the former Semo Group chairman from escaping overseas.

Prosecutors have been reviewing traffic surveillance camera footage from major roads in 13 cities and counties, and checking the identities of passengers boarding ferries and cargo ships departing from local ports.

The prosecution said it had received a tip about one of Yoo's aides seeking to lease a boat in Haenam early this month. There are many properties owned by Yoo's confidents and the Salvation Sect, a religious cult led by him, along the coast of South Jeolla Province. ...

The two Yoos have reportedly been offered safe houses and means of transportation by sect followers across the country.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 10, 2014, 12:52:48 PM
CNN have a new video report out on Yoo. It doesn't offer anything new, but it's nice to see more coverage^
http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/06/09/pkg-hancocks-s-korea-ferry-chief-run.cnn.html (http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/06/09/pkg-hancocks-s-korea-ferry-chief-run.cnn.html)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 11, 2014, 12:43:07 PM
June 10, 2014: Park calls for arrest of fugitive owner of sunken ferry (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/10/42/0301000000AEN20140610003451315F.html)
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President Park Geun-hye urged police and prosecutors Tuesday to explore every possible means to capture the fugitive owner of the ill-fated ferry to ensure that justice is served for the disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

She said it "does not make any sense" that police and prosecutors have failed to arrest Yoo Byung-eun, whose family owns ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co. "(Yoo) must be brought to justice," Park said in a Cabinet meeting, according to pool reports. ...

After Park's remarks, prosecutors held a meeting to discuss locating and arresting Yoo, with heads of related government agencies in attendance.

Amid concerns that Yoo could attempt to stow away on a vessel and escape abroad, the government has decided to mobilize the Navy and maritime police to monitor the coast. Prosecutors plan to hold a meeting at 3 p.m. Wednesday to work out measures to catch Yoo.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 11, 2014, 11:49:02 PM
June 11, 2014: 4,000 police raid cult compound (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/11/43/0302000000AEN20140611001100315F.html)
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Police entered a church retreat Wednesday to find and detain two church followers who are suspected of helping the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol evade a massive manhunt.

A group of some 4,000 police officers, armed with court-issued warrants, entered the sprawling religious compound belonging to the Evangelical Baptist Church, in Anseong, just south of Seoul, around 8 a.m.

Investigators suspect that the two female followers assisted Yoo Byung-eun, who is believed to own Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ferry Sewol that sank off the southwest coast on April 16. Yoo remains an influential founding member of the religious sect. ...

The worshipers have been staging a sit-in at the gate, arguing that the church has nothing to do with the allegations raised by the investigators. ... After hours of an intensive search, the team failed to locate the two.

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/yhpolice_zps9b6a2345.jpg)

You can see one of the cult's abandoned subway cars in this photo from the above article. I'm really curious to know how the cult came by those abandoned subway cars.. and why. For some reason, I find that the hardest thing to fathom. An earlier article claimed cult members sleep and hold rituals in those subway cars. :o

Update:Fugitive Sewol owner's aides nabbed in church retreat raid (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/11/43/0302000000AEN20140611001151315F.html)
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Police arrested three followers in a church retreat raid Wednesday on suspicion of helping the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol evade a massive manhunt.

After searching through the premises for nearly one hour, police said they have detained the three church followers, including a suspect surnamed Yim, on charges of assisting Yoo Byung-eun. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 12, 2014, 07:41:13 AM
July 11, 2014: Military tightens guard against fugitive Sewol owner's escape attempts (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2014/06/11/0200000000AEN20140611005800315.html)
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The military has heightened its vigilance against possible attempts by the fugitive owner of the ill-fated ferry Sewol to flee the country on a ship, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Wednesday.

In a brief note regarding the authorities' ongoing operations to catch Yoo Byung-eun, "(The military) has strengthened its vigilance and surveillance of any passengers or boats suspected of being related to an escape attempt," the JCS said.
I know there's a pretty strong rivalry, distrust even, between the police and prosecution in Korea at the best of times. From conversations I've had with friends in the police force in that past, you would think the prosecution and the police are mortal enemies. In this case, it seems that rather dysfunctional relationship has, not surprisingly, worked in Yoo's favor.
Yoo hunt is hampered by lack of coordination (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2990409)
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... Critics say prosecutors are not giving the police the intelligence they receive and that has hampered the hunt.

An example was when the prosecutors raided a villa in Suncheon, South Jeolla, on May 25, where Yoo was believed to have stayed after having fled from Geumsuwon in Ansan, Gyeonggi.

The prosecution did not inform the police about the search, so the police could not support the operation. The authorities failed to spot Yoo on that day.

Geumsuwon is the headquarters of the Evangelical Baptist Church, a Christian sect that Yoo founded with his father-in-law. Members of the sect, better known as Guwonpa, or the Salvation Sect, are thought to have helped Yoo escape from the headquarters.

Prosecutors requested support from the police only after they found out that Yoo fled to Haenam County, at the other end of the province, but that didn’t lead to successful cooperation, either.

When the prosecution raided a farm in Haenam that is believed to be owned by the Salvation Sect to look for Yoo last Sunday, prosecutors notified the Haenam Police Precinct only an hour ahead of the raid, not giving enough time to set up a dragnet.

Furthermore, the prosecution should have contacted the South Jeolla Provincial Police Agency, instead of the local police, to receive proper support.

“We understand the prosecution doesn’t want to leak intelligence,” said an officer of the South Jeolla Provincial Police Agency. “But it is hard for the police to set up a systematic search operation if [prosecutors] request cooperation directly from local police stations, not via higher police agencies.”

“Even though we have received intelligence related to Yoo, we did not act on our own without discussing with the prosecution,” added the Commissioner General Lee Sung-han of the National Police Agency.

Experts also emphasize the two authorities should build a close relationship to apprehend Yoo as soon as possible. ...
More on today's raid and the military's role in the search: (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_158930.html)
Quote
Law enforcement authorities raided Geumsuwon, a stronghold of the Salvation Sect, Wednesday, to arrest Yoo Byung-eun's key aides, who are suspected of helping the cult leader hide out.

Some 4,000 police officers and prosecutors entered the 230,000 square-meter compound at 8:13 a.m. and took into custody five cult followers ― three on a wanted list ― on suspicion of assisting Yoo's flight.

The raid came as the military is heightening its vigilance against possible attempts by the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol to flee the country on a ship.

Army and Navy units are closely monitoring the seas off the country's southern and western coasts to halt any escape attempt, said the Joint Chiefs of Staff. ...

During the second raid, the prosecution failed to find two key female followers who are said to be leading the sect's efforts to protect Yoo. The two women have been identified as "Mother Shin," 64, and "Mother Kim," 59. ...

One of the followers was detained for interrupting the search and seizure action inside Geumsuwon.

Shin and Kim are suspected of raising funds for Yoo's flight, arranging hideouts, deploying supporters around the country to assist Yoo and collecting information about the prosecution's investigation. Shin's daughter in her 30s is suspected of being with Dae-gyun and helping him evade the manhunt.

Lee Tae-jong, an interim spokesperson for the Salvation Sect, told Yonhap News that the arrested followers were in Haenam, South Jeolla Province, to pick fruit, not to help Yoo. He added that Shin and Kim are ordinary church followers as well. ...

Some 100 followers were gathered at the entrance of Geumsuwon and called for the prosecution to "stop religious suppression." ...

Police stationed some 6,000 officers and three dogs, and had water cannon, rescue trucks and ambulances on standby for any possible clashes.
Video Reports from Arirang TV:
6,000 police raid religious compound to find aides of Sewol-ho ferry owner (http://www.arirang.co.kr/news/News_View.asp?nseq=163776)
Search resumes at ferry owner's religious compound (http://www.arirang.co.kr/news/News_View.asp?nseq=163839)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 12, 2014, 09:17:52 AM
More on the raid from the BBC and Reuters:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27790275 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27790275)
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/06/11/southkorea-ferry-idUKL4N0OS1C820140611 (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/06/11/southkorea-ferry-idUKL4N0OS1C820140611)

June 11, 2014: Soldiers Roped into Manhunt for Ferry Owner (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/06/11/2014061100895.html)
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... President Park in a Cabinet meeting said it "does not make any sense" that police and prosecutors have failed to arrest Yoo and urged them to consider "all means possible" to catch him. This was the third time Park has voiced her dissatisfaction with attempts to arrest the fugitive amid growing calls to appoint new officials to oversee his arrest.

The nationwide manhunt is dragging on, but prosecutors have few leads. The longer it takes to find Yoo, Cheong Wa Dae fears, the more disaffected the public will become with the government's abilities. Following Park's comments, prosecutors held an emergency meeting that included police and military officers, and decided to mobilize troops to arrest the fugitive.

Soldiers will be deployed to prevent Yoo from fleeing the country by boat and to track him down at sea if he does manage to embark. Yoo is believed to be negotiating with organized crime to aid his escape. Customs authorities have bolstered checks at all ports across the nation.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 13, 2014, 02:38:20 AM
June 12, 2014: Another raid this morning (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/12/60/0302000000AEN20140612002000315F.html)
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Police raided a church retreat for the second day in a row Thursday as part of their intensive search for the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol.

A team of 3,600 riot police and prosecutors, armed with court-issued warrants, resumed their search at the sprawling religious compound belonging to the Evangelical Baptist Church in Anseong, just south of Seoul, to arrest Yoo Byung-eun.

The 73-year-old Yoo is believed to own Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ferry Sewol that sank off the southwest coast on April 16, leaving more than 300 people dead or missing. He also remains an influential founding member of the religious sect.

After conducting the massive raid by mobilizing nearly 6,000 police officers on Wednesday, the team arrested six church followers, including five people suspected of helping Yoo evade a massive manhunt, officials said.

However, the team said it is still looking for two other senior church followers who are believed to have played a major role in helping Yoo escape.

How Long Will This Farce Continue? (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/06/12/2014061202198.html)
Quote
Police conducted a second raid Wednesday morning on a sprawling compound south of Seoul owned by the cult led by fugitive ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon. Investigators searched the compound for any clues to the whereabouts of Yoo, who has escaped a nationwide dragnet for weeks, and to arrest key members of the cult who are suspected of aiding him.

An army of no fewer than 6,000 police was mobilized, and military and customs officers were involved in the planning.

Prosecutors have now decided to deploy Navy vessels to intercept Yoo in the ocean should he seek to escape by boat.

A manhunt of this scale is unprecedented in the country's history. It is also rare for the government to place a huge bounty on a fugitive’s head and plead with village leaders around the country to offer tips on his whereabouts. Now that the military is involved, the government has pretty much deployed all of its resources.
President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday slammed prosecutors and law enforcement officers for failing to capture Yoo and said it "does not make any sense" that they have been unable to nab him.

That prompted prosecutors to hold an emergency meeting at 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday and seek court permission to raid the compound again. Previously prosecutors were reluctant to conduct a second raid due to the sheer size of the property, and police feared a possible clash with cult members.

But Wednesday's raid failed to net two key figures in Yoo's cult who have been charged with aiding him and his eldest son. It is not surprising that investigators left empty-handed once again, since the latest search was a last-minute decision following some strong words from the president, rather than being based on careful planning.

Prosecutors will now be very lucky if they find Yoo at all. It looks like the blame game will end up damaging the credibility not only of prosecutors but of Cheong Wa Dae as the public questions the reasons for such monumental ineptitude.

Public confidence in the government is at a new low. The Korea Coast Guard failed horribly to rescue trapped passengers from the ferry, while the Ministry of Public Administration and Security fumbled repeatedly in assessing the casualty count. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries never did its job of overseeing the ferry operator. Now, the military has been roped into the operation but has been unable even to arrest a couple of followers of a cuckoo cult. Just how much more ineptitude must Koreans put up with?
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 14, 2014, 03:32:17 AM
Curious headline.
July 13, 2014: Raid finds no tunnels and no Yoo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2990563)
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Stretching into the second day of a raid on a religious retreat, a joint team of police and prosecutors yesterday sought to find a potential clandestine facility or underground tunnels that authorities believe could harbor Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the operator of the sunken Sewol ferry.

But the investigators failed to uncover any relevant subterranean premises. The police did not capture Yoo, who is currently on the run, however, they did manage to arrest one of his secretaries for helping him escape. That secretary was also a key aide, according to prosecutors. ...

Prosecutors said they were tipped off about underground tunnels or a bunker in the compound designed to cater to members of the Evangelical Baptist Church. “In most cases, a religious cult like the Salvation Sect would have a secret tunnel or underground area to evade arrest,” said a senior police officer who refused to be named.

The move comes a day after authorities arrested six followers of the religious sect on suspicions that they helped Yoo escape and obstructed police from executing their duty.

The first day of the raid on Wednesday was focused on arresting two key female aides who are believed to have played a major role in keeping Yoo out of authorities’ grasp, but that attempt ended in failure.

Some 200 adherents stayed at Geumsuwon, praying and delivering a speech critical of prosecutors’ investigations, though no major physical clash occurred. The believers have likened the search for Yoo to a witch hunt and maintain that the sect has nothing to do with the Sewol ferry disaster in April that claimed nearly 300 lives.

Not all sect members are supportive of Yoo’s escape, however, which has caused factional rifts among adherents as the manhunt for their religious leader has drawn out.

There are two major religious bodies in the sect. Members of one body reportedly advocate that Yoo should be brought to justice for the purpose of protecting the property and the sect itself. The second, whose name roughly translates as Layperson Evangelical Mission, claims adherents should help Yoo evade arrest.

Most of the followers who have been charged are known to have come from the latter entity. At the initial stage of the investigation, Yoo reportedly ordered Lee Jae-ok, his key aide, to disband the first group who attempted to distance themselves from Yoo.

The intensity of factional fighting was apparent on a free bulletin board on the official website of the religious sect, though it has since been closed. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 14, 2014, 05:25:08 AM
July 13, 2014: Victim's mother sues state, ferry operator for damages (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/13/47/0302000000AEN20140613001900315F.html)
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The mother of a student killed in April's ferry sinking has filed a lawsuit against the state and the ferry operator, seeking an initial 30 million won (US$29,500) in damages, legal sources said Friday.

It is the first time that a bereaved family member has sued the state and Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ferry Sewol that sank off the southwest coast on April 16, leaving more than 300 people, mostly high school students, dead or missing.

In the suit filed with the Seoul Central District Court on Wednesday, the mother argued that Chonghaejin Marine did not fulfill its duty to educate crew members and the state poorly managed shipping companies, the sources said.

"It is clear that I have gone through unbearable mental suffering after my son abruptly died on a school excursion," the mother argued in the suit.

The victim was one of the 326 students from Danwon High School in Ansan, south of Seoul, who were on a school trip to the southern resort island of Jeju.

According to the sources, the plaintiff plans to raise the compensation demand up to 600 million won during the course of trials by proving that both the ferry operator and the state are liable for compensation. ...
Prosecutors Appeal for Help in Catching Ferry Owner (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/06/13/2014061301243.html)
Quote
Prosecutors on Thursday appealed for help from the public in catching fugitive ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon, issuing a detailed description in hopes of tip-offs. Among other things, the Supreme Public Prosecutors' Office cited prison records compiled in the four years Yoo spent in the Anyang penitentiary from 1991 to 1995 as showing that the end of the third finger on his left hand is curved. ...

A joint meeting of prosecutors, government officials, police and military officers Thursday decided to set up a hotline for tip-offs. The Coast Guard and Joint Chiefs of Staff selected 219 locations across the country where Yoo could escape by boat and beefed up patrols there.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Incheon arrested Yoo's personal secretary, identified by her surname Kim (55), who was also a director at a design company owned by Yoo's eldest daughter, Sum-na. Prosecutors will decide whether to indict Kim after looking into the role she played in helping Yoo, an undischarged bankrupt, embezzle vast amounts of money from ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine and affiliates.

Prosecutors also continued their search of a sprawling compound south of Seoul belonging to Yoo’s cult, but failed to nab any key figures. They searched for signs of an underground tunnel at the compound, but came up empty-handed due to a lack of proper equipment.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 14, 2014, 05:49:33 AM
July 13, 2014: Police nab fugitive ferry owner's brother (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/13/89/0302000000AEN20140613005300315F.html)
Quote
Police said Friday they have arrested the elder brother of the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol during a massive raid on a church retreat south of Seoul.

Yoo Byung-ill, 75, was apprehended on a mountain road nearby the sprawling religious compound belonging to the Evangelical Baptist Church in Anseong, about 80 kilometers south of Seoul, police said.

He is the elder brother of Yoo Byung-eun, 73, who is believed to own Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ferry Sewol that sank off the southwest coast on April 16 and left more than 300 dead or missing.

The elder Yoo received some 2.5 million won (US$2,450) per month from Chonghaejin Marine as consulting fees for the past few years, officers said. ...

One of the two senior church followers who are believed to have played a major role in helping Yoo escape, meanwhile, said that she will turn herself in, prosecutors said.

The 64-year-old follower, only identified by her surname Shin, notified the prosecution through her lawyer that she will face questioning voluntarily, they added.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 16, 2014, 02:26:30 AM
June 15, 2014: Arrest warrant sought for brother of fugitive ferry owner (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140615000142)
Quote
Prosecutors sought an arrest warrant Sunday for the elder brother of the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol on charges of embezzlement and violation of a law requiring real names in property deals.

The prosecution move came two days after Yoo Byung-ill, 75, was apprehended on a mountain road nearby the sprawling religious compound belonging to the Evangelical Baptist Church in Anseong, about 80 kilometers south of Seoul.

He is the elder brother of Yoo Byung-eun, 73, who is believed to own Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ferry Sewol that sank off the southwest coast on April 16 and claimed some 300 lives.   

According to prosecutors, the elder Yoo is suspected of having received some 2.5 million won (US$2,450) per month from Chonghaejin Marine as consulting fees for the past few years.

The elder Yoo was grilled over his alleged receipt of consulting fees, the owner family's suspected misappropriation and the whereabouts of the fugitive ferry owner, they added. A local district court plans to hold a hearing Monday to review the legality of his arrest. ...

Prosecutors also said they will seek an arrest warrant later Sunday for one of the two senior church followers who are believed to have played a major role in helping the ferry owner avoid the dragnet.

The 64-year-old follower, only identified by her surname Shin, turned herself in to the prosecution on Friday.

And some more details about the cult's compound appear in this article:
June 12, 2014: Police storm church seeking S. Korean billionaire (http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/world/2014/06/11/korea-police-raid-church-ferry-owner-search/yRghdTdpdzljPiNrGEiZjL/story.html)
Quote
Thousands of South Korean police officers stormed a sprawling church compound Wednesday in their hunt for a fugitive billionaire businessman over April’s ferry sinking that left more than 300 people dead or missing, officials said. ...

The compound that was raided, the size of about 30 soccer fields, is considered the church’s headquarters and thousands of church members gather there for services on weekends. The area contains ranches, fields, a fish farm, and an auditorium that can house up to 5,000 people, according to media reports.

About 200 church members rallied against the raid, singing hymns, pumping their fists into the air, and chanting slogans. A large banner hanging near them said, ‘‘We’ll protect Yoo Byung-eun even if 100,000 church members are all arrested.’’ There were no reports of violence. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 16, 2014, 11:39:33 PM
June 16, 2014: Religious cult divided over Yoo (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_159136.html)
Quote
As the prosecution and police intensify their manhunt for Yoo Byung-eun, discord among followers of his religious cult, the Salvation Sect, is showing signs of increasing.

On Friday, a 64-year-old woman referred to by sect followers as "Mother Shin" gave herself up to the prosecution after a search was conducted for her for weeks.

She is suspected of organizing the sect's systematic efforts to hide Yoo. Her daughter is also allegedly on the run together with Yoo's eldest son, Dae-gyun.

However, her unexpected surrender triggered questions about her true intentions.  She reportedly decided to turn herself in to prevent a further "rupture" within the cult.

Division within the sect is no secret. Hardliners, mostly from the Salvation Sect, and those relatively moderate, mainly from the Evangelical Baptist Church, are clashing over whether or not they should protect Yoo.

On June 9, the Evangelical Baptist Church shut down part of its website (ebcworld. org) after hardliners and moderates had open arguments on its message board.

Some followers want Yoo to turn himself in, so that the church can protect the wealth of the sect including that which belongs to agricultural association corporations.

The government has frozen the assets of Semo Group and the church in order to liquidate them and compensate the victims of the sinking of the ferry Sewol, which Yoo owned.

The Salvation Sect, formed in the 1960s, isn't part of the Evangelical Baptist Church. However, some followers of the sect founded the church in the 1980s, but not all of the cult followers joined and Yoo was among them.

Steve Jeon, a former professor at an American university and a Salvation Sect member, said in a press conference last month that followers have different opinions about protecting Yoo.

"Some people ask why they should protect him when he is not a church member. There are many different thoughts here. Some wonder why the chairman doesn't come out and face the prosecution. Some argue he doesn't have a reason to do so when the media and prosecution are unfair," said Jeon.  ...

When Shin turned herself in, she told the prosecution that it was difficult to hide out any longer because her acquaintances were arrested and the prosecution rigorously searched Geumsuwon.

The hearings for both Byung-il and Shin will be held today in Incheon District Court.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 17, 2014, 08:59:12 PM
Rock music is evil and the end is nigh :o Words of wisdom from "Rev" Kwon Shin-chan, Yoo's father-in-law.

Footloose With Yoo Byung-eun's Evangelical Layman's Church (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7_GXhrRXfE#)

For more, go to http://www.ebcworld.org (http://www.ebcworld.org), click 전도 at the top and follow the link to the English sermons.

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/englishsermons_zps613af793.jpg)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 17, 2014, 10:35:44 PM
July 16, 2014: Ferry Owner's Follower Turns Herself In (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/06/16/2014061601689.html)
Quote
An influential follower of the cult led by Yoo Byung-eon, the de facto owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, turned herself in to authorities on Friday. She is suspected of a key role in helping Yoo evade capture.

The 64-year-old, identified only by her surname Shin, is the wife of a wealthy businessman.

Accompanied by a lawyer, Shin walked into the prosecutors' office in Suwon and was later transferred to the Incheon office, which is in charge of the investigation. She told prosecutors she had been in hiding for some time but could bear it no longer when she saw so many people arrested as the investigation intensified.

Prosecutors want to know whether Shin was also instrumental in helping the Yoo family amass their fortune and evade arrest. Some prosecutors worry that Shin's dramatic surrender is a diversionary tactic. ...

Meanwhile, prosecutors have learned that DNA samples collected from the Anseong compound match samples collected from a house in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province where Yoo was hiding. "There is no doubt that Yoo was in Suncheon," a prosecutor said.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 18, 2014, 02:43:26 PM
Thanks to John Power for this excellent article and for offering me the chance to contribute. Actually I has just woken up from a much-needed super nap when he called. I just offered a few quotes on cults in general. Dr. Ji-il Tark speaks more specifically about Yoo's church:
http://thediplomat.com/2014/06/the-cults-of-south-korea/ (http://thediplomat.com/2014/06/the-cults-of-south-korea/)

Quote
For more than six weeks, an obscure Christian sect widely described as a cult has dominated the news in South Korea. The reason: its alleged connection to a ferry sinking in April that killed more than 300 people.

Yoo Byung-eun, the founder of the Salvation Sect and alleged de facto owner of the ferry’s operating firm, has become the country’s most wanted man, with the authorities offering a $500,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. He and his family stand accused of corruption, poor management and illegal modifications to the ferry Sewol that prosecutors say contributed to its sinking with hundreds of high school students onboard. Despite a massive manhunt across the country, Yoo has continued to elude capture since a court issued a warrant for his arrest on May 22.

“They (the Salvation Sect) began around the early 1970s. Their doctrine is influenced by the foreign missionaries,” Tark Ji-il, a professor at Busan Presbyterian University and expert on cults in Korea, told The Diplomat. “According to them, they don’t need to repent again and again. We need only one repentance. Right after realization of sin, there is no need to repent again. Because, according to them, righteous man is righteous man, even if they have committed a sin.”

While Yoo is regarded simply as a church leader by some members, more devoted followers see him as a messianic figure, according to Tark.

But while the Salvation Sect is currently the focus of national scrutiny, it is just one of many shadowy religious groups operating in South Korea, a country with one of Asia’s largest communities of Christians, divided among an incalculable number of churches. While it is difficult to determine an exact figure, perhaps hundreds of cults exist in Korea, according to Tark. Even without concrete figures, he believes that South Korea is unique among Asian and developing countries for the prevalence of such groups. In his book The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies, journalist Michael Breen reported that one church minister in the early 1960s identified some 70 Koreans who claimed to be the messiah and had followers.

The definition of a cult is not uncontroversial, in Korea and elsewhere, with followers typically rejecting the pejorative term. Timothy Lee, an expert in Evangelicalism in Korea at Brite Divinity School in Texas, said that contemporary historians typically avoid “value judgments on religious phenomena.” He did, however, offer several possible criteria for making the determination.

“I would say when seeking to determine whether a religious group is a cult or a legitimate church, one has to, among others, consider these three criteria: the freedom with which one can affiliate and disaffiliate with the group, the transparency in its leadership structure, and the group’s attitude toward larger society, with a cult assuming a much more exclusivist and condemnatory attitude toward society.”

Certainly Korean fringe churches to have attracted the label have been implicated in fraud, brainwashing, coercion, and other behavior associated with cults worldwide. The most sinister have been linked to criminality as serious as systematic rape and even murder.

In 1987, 33 members of the cult Odaeyang, of which the current fugitive Yoo was once a member, were found dead in a factory in Yongin, about 50 km south of Seoul. It has never been conclusively determined whether the cult members, whose bodies were found bound and gagged, had been murdered or committed mass suicide. Followers of the group’s leader Park Soon-ja, who was also among the dead, had believed that the world, irretrievably mired in decadence, was coming to an end.

Busan Presbyterian University professor Tark’s own father was murdered by a member of another cult in 1994.

In 2009, the leader of a South Korean cult known as Providence or Jesus Morning Star, among other names, was convicted of the rape or sexual assault of four of his female followers.

In April of this year, a television documentary for Australian broadcaster SBS detailed how the church was continuing to groom women in the country as future “brides” for its head Jeong Myeong-Seok, who is reported to have told his followers that their sins could be cleansed by having sex with him. Two Australian former members of the cult claimed they had been encouraged to write sexually explicit letters to Jeong and were even taken to Seoul to visit him in prison.

Providence/JMS is also one of several groups based in Korea to have a notable presence abroad. Perhaps no controversial Korean church has had more impact outside of Korea than the Unification Church, commonly referred to as the “Moonies,” which saw modest recruitment in the U.S. during the 1970s. It has faced accusations of brainwashing its members, a claim denied by the church as well as some independent religious scholars.

What most of Korea’s controversial religious groups have in common is that they can be traced back to one of three periods in the country’s modern history, according to Tark: the Japanese occupation, the Korean War, and the period of military dictatorships that reached the peak of its authoritarianism in the 1970s and 1980s.

In the case of the former two periods, Tark said, instability and hardship helped popularize religious organizations that offered solace and valorized suffering.

“Right after 1931, it looked very hard to be saved from the Japanese occupation so they focused on Jesus Christ, who suffered on the cross. So it is a kind of mysticism,” he said.

During the dictatorship period, meanwhile, many cult leaders could gain a foothold by supporting the government, unlike a lot of the anti-dictatorship mainline Protestant churches, according to Tark.

Various opinions exist as to the appeal of Korea’s fringe religious groups.

Peter Daley, a longtime resident who has researched cults in Korea since 2003 when his roommate became a member of Providence/JSM, said that one reason may be the relative lack of ambiguity in their teachings.

“With these groups, there’re no shades of grey, everything is absolute, ‘yes, this guy is the messiah, yes, if you follow him you’ll go to heaven,’” said Daley, who claimed that his website jmscult.com and work with media has seen him threatened by disgruntled followers. “Some people feel that the … more mainstream groups sometimes don’t make these grandiose claims. So when a group comes along with all the answers to ‘a,’ ‘b,’ and ‘c,’ that can be appealing to some people.”

Peer pressure and the deference toward one’s elders present in Korea society also work to the advantage of cult leaders, he said.

“Then you get these older Korean guys dressed up in suits; it can be hard for a younger Korean person to question that, especially when a new member is thrust into an environment where there are a lot of current members.”

Many groups are also highly Korea-centric, basing their beliefs around the idea that the country and Koreans themselves are somehow favored by God or otherwise special.

“Because they believe the new messiah is a Korean, the new revelation is written in Korean, the new nation (of people) who are going to be saved – 144,000 people – are Koreans, or the kingdom of God will be established in Korea (they can have many loyal Korea followers),” said Tark.

A cultural aspect of another sort may also be at play, according to Lee, the Brite Divinity School professor.

“I am not sure whether the number of cult-like organizations in Korea is, proportionally speaking, larger than in, say, Japan or the United States. But compared to Westerners, Koreans tend to be less individualistic and more communal, disposing them to affiliate with some organizations, which will typically assume some familial shape,” he said.

“And if leaders of such organizations develop a sense of religious calling that is looked askance by the larger society, gather followers around them, and insist on their practicing exclusivism, you have the beginnings of cults.”
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 19, 2014, 11:53:19 PM
July 17, 2014: One month on, Yoo Byung-eun remains elusive (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2990764)
Quote
Authorities pursuing Yoo Byung-eun, the shady business tycoon behind the operator of the sunken Sewol ferry, have hit an uncomfortable milestone now that a month has elapsed since the elderly fugitive is believed to have made his escape.

Prosecutors suspect Yoo fled Geumsuwon, the headquarters of the religious sect he co-founded, on or around May 17.

The Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday questioned a woman surnamed Kim, suspected to have served as Yoo’s secretary in his business dealings, in an attempt to pinpoint his whereabouts, but were unsuccessful in drawing forth any critical information. Kim is alleged to have orchestrated Yoo’s flight.

The prosecution also failed to determine Yoo’s whereabouts even after interrogating his older brother, Byung-il, and Shin Myeong-hee, a 64-year-old believer better known as Shin Eomma, or Mother Shin.

Over the course of their investigation, prosecutors have failed to apprehend Yoo as well as others responsible for contributing to the corruption in his businesses. Kim Pil-bae was named as a primary suspect by eight other close aides of Yoo during their trial yesterday. And Yoo’s eldest son, Yoo Dae-gyun, 44, who is known to have been involved in managing his business network, also has yet to be caught.

Public sentiment toward authorities’ handling of the investigation has generally not been positive, especially in the aftermath of the Sewol ferry accident, which left nearly 300 people dead. Police have come under scrutiny for failing to respond properly and for having inaccurate information.

On Friday, the National Police Agency organized a new team dedicated to Yoo’s capture and distributed wanted posters at local neighborhood meetings. However, the traits for Yoo listed on their sheets were incorrect.

Critics also pointed out that inspections on passing cars were not effective and merely intended for show.

“The police dragnet has loopholes because they failed to gather information in the early stages,” said Kwack Dae-gyung, a professor of police administration at Dongguk University. “Cooperation between local police agencies is not very good. The Gyeonggi police once led operations in South Jeolla, for example.”

A former official from the Korea Coast Guard speculated that Yoo may have already escaped.

“Yoo may have smuggled himself into foreign countries,” the source said. “Even if he hasn’t, it won’t be easy to stop him because it is impossible to monitor more than 2,000 vessels in the southwestern region where he is believed to be hiding.”
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 20, 2014, 06:35:10 AM
Thanks to John Power for this excellent article and for offering me the chance to contribute. Actually I has just woken up from a much-needed super nap when he called. I just offered a few quotes on cults in general. Dr. Ji-il Tark speaks more specifically about Yoo's church:
http://thediplomat.com/2014/06/the-cults-of-south-korea/ (http://thediplomat.com/2014/06/the-cults-of-south-korea/)
John just tweeted this:
Quote
LA-based PR firm Sitrick and Company is representing Ahae, aka Yoo Byung-eun. It has asked sections of my piece on Korean cults be removed.
Here's that PR firm's site: http://sitrick.com/about (http://sitrick.com/about)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitrick_and_Company (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitrick_and_Company)
And one of their more higher profile cases:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_abuse_scandal_in_the_Catholic_archdiocese_of_Los_Angeles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_abuse_scandal_in_the_Catholic_archdiocese_of_Los_Angeles)

This just got interesting. I just browsed John's article again and there's no mention of AHAE. The material concerning Yoo and the sect has only appeared in dozens and dozens of other articles and from statements issued by Korean authorities. Dr Tark's statements are those of an expert.

The founder of Sitrick has quite a job ahead of him (http://sitrick.com/about/michal-s-sitrick) if he seriously expects to put a positive spin on all this:
Quote
Michael Sitrick is the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sitrick And Company. An internationally recognized expert in the strategic use of communications, Mr. Sitrick has been the subject of numerous articles focusing on the results he has achieved for clients. Fortune Magazine called him “one of the most accomplished practitioners of the dark arts of public relations” and “The Winston Wolf of Public Relations.” “Wolf,” Fortune explained, was the fixer in Pulp Fiction. Played by Harvey Keitel, he washed away assassins splatter and gore. Sitrick “cleans up the messes of companies, celebrities and others and he’s a strategist who isn’t averse to treating PR as combat.” The Los Angeles Times called him, “The Wizard of Spin,” Forbes, “The Flack For When You’re Under Attack” and the Financial Times, the spin doctor’s spin doctor.” Fast Company said, “Everyone understands the importance of shaping a story, but few are as shrewdly proficient at manipulating the media as L.A. crisis manager Mike Sitrick…” Los Angeles Magazine wrote: “Sitrick is a pure product of the 24-hour news cycle, of a culture dominated and defined by newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, the Internet, of the never-ending noise streaming into our lives. Beyond his aggressiveness, beyond his toughness, what distinguishes Sitrick is his ability to play the media to his clients’ advantage.”
I doubt he's ever had a bigger mess to clean up (well, perhaps the systematic rape of almost 1,000 children was a bigger mess).

"Combat" I quite like the sound of that. Some messes can't be cleaned up, no matter how much money you charge.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 20, 2014, 10:39:56 AM
Interesting footage from last week's raids on this Al Jazeera video dated June 12:
http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/live-news/2014/6/the-puzzle-behindyoobyungun.html (http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/live-news/2014/6/the-puzzle-behindyoobyungun.html)

Abandoned subway cars used as dorms. I guess he cares as much about the accommodations of his followers as he did the safety of his ferries.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 21, 2014, 08:21:40 AM
Interesting headline, but I don't think there's anything of real significance:
June 20, 2014: 'Salvation Sect obtained prosecution's internal document' (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_159505.html)
Quote
A document about the prosecution's search-and-seizure plan during its May 21 raid of Geumsuwon, the stronghold of the Salvation Sect, has been obtained by the cult followers, it was revealed Thursday.

The document contains information about the team in charge of executing the search-and-seizure warrant at Geumsuwon in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province.

It includes the names of investigators, the way they were organized, the timeline and areas to search, as well as the names and phone numbers of the commanding prosecutors.

It is not known how the Salvation Sect obtained the document.

The prosecution denied that the document was intentionally leaked, and said that they assume someone in the team accidently lost a copy during the raid and a cult follower picked it. The prosecution argued that it contained no confidential information.

However, an unnamed Salvation Sect follower said in an interview with the Korea Broadcasting System that one of the investigators gave him a copy for "reference purposes." ...

Explaining why the prosecution has had difficulties arresting Yoo, Hwang Kyo-ahn, minister of justice, told lawmakers during a National Assembly hearing on June 18 that the authority tried to arrest him with a warrant immediately after his corruption was detected, but some information about the investigation is believed to have been leaked to Yoo beforehand.

The Ministry of Justice later explained Hwang actually meant that those who had been questioned before the prosecution decided to arrest Yoo ― not members of the prosecution ― could have passed information to Yoo. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 21, 2014, 10:58:47 AM
Always Jingle Bell Land??

Investigators scour park for Yoo; 1 man arrested (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2990886)
Quote
Authorities chasing after fugitive Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken Sewol ferry, searched Always Jingle Bell Land, an amusement park in Anseong, Gyeonggi, yesterday after speculation arose that the 73-year-old tycoon may be hiding in a neglected motel in the park.

The children’s amusement park, which has a sledding slope and a swimming pool, is known to be owned by Yoo’s eldest son, Yoo Dae-gyun, 44, and is located next to Geumsuwon, the headquarters of the Evangelical Baptist Church. The sect was co-founded by Yoo Byung-eun and his father-in-law in the 1960s, and is better known as Guwonpa, or the Salvation Sect.

The investigators from the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office who came down to Anseong yesterday failed to find Yoo, but they did manage to apprehend a 35-year-old man surnamed Chu, who was on the wanted list. Chu, the son of a close aide of Yoo, is believed to have aided Yoo in his escape.

Chu’s father, 60, is currently in the custody of the prosecution after being arrested on May 24, at a villa where Yoo is thought to have stayed, for providing the fugitive tycoon food and necessities. The elder Chu is also known to be the head of the sect in the eastern region of South Jeolla and a director of Yoo’s tea-producing affiliate. Prosecutors conducted the search guided by Chu, who knows the park well.

Guwonpa said later yesterday that Chu was working on maintaining the park’s facilities when investigators stormed in and arrested him after it was confirmed that he was also on the wanted list.

Always Jingle Bell Land is known to be a setting for gatherings for the religious sect’s believers. On Sunday, the adherents held a forum there to try to determine the true reason behind the Sewol ferry accident, saying they could not accept the authorities’ explanation for the ship’s sinking. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 22, 2014, 10:04:36 AM
June 21, 2014: Fugitive ferry owner's wife arrested (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140621000061)
Quote
Police and prosecutors said Saturday they have arrested the wife of the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol on charges of embezzling funds from a church and handing them over to her family.

The 72-year-old Kwon Yun-ja was arrested earlier in the day inside an apartment in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, the joint investigative team said, adding her husband, Yoo Byung-eun, was not at the site of capture.

She allegedly pocketed an unidentified amount of money allotted for missionary work of the Evangelical Baptist Church back in August 2009 and handed them over to her husband and her eldest son, Dae-kyun, according to the team. The elder Yoo is a founding member of the religious sect and still remains influential within the group.

Her arrest is part of an ongoing extensive manhunt for Yoo, who is believed to own Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ill-fated ferry, and his son, with authorities offering 500 million won (US$489,000) and 100 million won, respectively, in bounty for information leading to the capture of the elder Yoo and his son.

"We will look into how much money she embezzled and what roles she played in the escape of her husband and son, as well as whether she is aware of their whereabouts," a prosecutor said.

The ship Sewol sank off the country's southwestern coast on April 16. Of the 476 people presumed to had been on board, more than 300 have been confirmed dead or missing. Investigators suspect that corruption by the owner family resulted in lax safety practices, such as cargo overloading, and created conditions that ultimately led to the tragedy.
And here are a couple of wanted posters in English I happened across earlier today.. They're kind of everywhere these days:

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/2014-06-21154148_zpsc2684abb.jpg)

(http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j181/CaptPorridge/A%20Ferry%20Cult/2014-06-21154251_zps3f896fc7.jpg)

I know I shouldn't judge someone by their appearance, but my God that son looks like a nasty piece of work.

http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2990950 (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2990950)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 23, 2014, 02:41:08 AM
Video news report on Mrs Yoo's arrest:
http://www.arirang.co.kr/news/News_View.asp?nseq=164326 (http://www.arirang.co.kr/news/News_View.asp?nseq=164326)
Quote
The wife of the fugitive owner of the sunken Sewol-ho ferry has been arrested on charges of embezzling funds from a church and passing them to her family.

Prosecutors say 72-year-old Kwon Yun-ja was arrested Saturday inside an apartment in Bundang, Gyeonggi-do Province.
Her husband, Yoo Byung-eun, was not there and remains at large.

Investigators say Kwon allegedly took an undisclosed amount of cash allotted for missionary work of the Evangelical Baptist Church in 2009 and handed it over to her husband and her eldest son, Yoo Dae-kyun .
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 23, 2014, 10:55:16 AM
There can't be that many family members left to catch. He's going to be all alone for Christmas.

July 22, 2014: Yoo's younger brother arrested (http://Police detain fugitive ferry owner's brother)
Quote
Police said Sunday they have detained the younger brother of the fugitive owner of the ill-fated ferry Sewol on charges of breach of trust, the latest in a series of arrests that could put additional pressure on the fugitive.

Yoo Byung-ho, 62, was nabbed inside his home in Daegu, a city about 300 kilometers south of Seoul, police said. He is suspected to have funneled his company's funds to his elder brother's family when he was working as an auditor of one of the family's sprawling businesses, according to the police.

The arrest came a day after police and prosecutors detained the wife of Yoo Byung-eun, the 73-year-old fugitive whose family owns ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

The latest arrest brought to seven the total number of Yoo's family and relatives under detention following the April sinking of the ferry Sewol that left more than 300 people dead.

It was not clear whether the seven would cooperate with police and prosecutors in arresting Yoo Byung-eun and his eldest son, Dae-kyun, who have been at large despite an extensive manhunt.

Investigators suspect that corruption and irregularities by Yoo's family resulted in lax safety practices, such as cargo overloading, and created conditions that ultimately contributed to the tragedy.

And from the banking sector:
Woori Bank faces sanctions for not reporting Yoo's transactions (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2014/06/488_159576.html)
Quote
Woori Bank faces punishment for not reporting financial transactions made by Yoo Byung-eun who remains a fugitive after the Sewol ferry disaster in April.

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said on Sunday that it will consider taking disciplinary measures against the bank for its failure to report Yoo's "suspicious" financial transactions.

"Woori Bank was found not to have reported scores of suspicious financial transactions made years earlier between Yoo's family and some affiliates of the (ship-operating) Semo Group," an FSS official said.

The official said the transactions at Woori Bank for two years ended in 2011 and totaled tens of billions of won, or tens of millions of dollars.

"Woori Bank belatedly reported suspicious financial transactions after the FSS, the Prosecutors' Office, and the National Tax Service began a countrywide search for Yoo's hidden assets, and an investigation into any illegal deals," the official said.

However, Woori Bank said it was difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal transactions made years ago and that Yoo was just one of the bank's countless customers.

"That's why we have just come to report financial transactions between Yoo, his related people and companies," a Woori Bank spokesman said.

The FSS is looking into other banks to see if they failed to report any dubious transactions by Yoo and related people.

Four banks with which Yoo and his family had transactions include Woori Bank, the state-owned Korea Development Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea and Kyongnam Bank, according to the financial regulator.

Yoo, his family and Chonghaejin Marine, which operated the Sewol ferry collectively, owe 375 billion won to financial institutions.

Banks extended 90 percent of the loans, including 93 billion won extended from Woori Bank, the FSS official said.

Yoo, 74, is widely believed to have a big say or an influence in Semo Group and Chonghaejin Marine although he does not have a stake in the companies. A countrywide hunt for Yoo is still under way, with a 500 million won reward for a decisive tip-off.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 23, 2014, 12:29:16 PM
Something a little different and quite interesting. Kevin Ham talking about his dot com business and some of the history behind the www.god.com (http://www.god.com) url:
https://archive.org/details/BretConkin-VEF_KevinHam_2784-2 (https://archive.org/details/BretConkin-VEF_KevinHam_2784-2)

He mentions a childhood friend named Colin Yoo...connection? Kevin, for those that missed it is, a member of Yoo's church. (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/06/01/100050989/)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 23, 2014, 11:24:02 PM
I think this is the first article about all this to use the word "grilled".  :)

Yoo’s wife questioned after her arrest (http://)
Quote
A joint team of police and prosecutors grilled the wife of the fugitive de facto owner of the sunken Sewol ferry’s operator after it arrested Kwon Yun-ja on Saturday over suspicions that she embezzled corporate funds to help her son evade arrest. ...

Authorities said Kwon appeared to be keeping contact with her eldest son, though she didn’t contact her husband as frequently as her son.

The arrest is the latest in a series of prolonged efforts to pursue the two fugitives and apply pressure by arresting their family members and close aides. So far, six family members and relatives - including the older brother of the 73-year-old Yoo - have been detained or questioned over their potential connections with him.

Kwon, 71, was apprehended in an apartment in Bundang, Gyeonggi. Yoo and their oldest son were nowhere to be found, however, according to the investigation team. Investigators said they also found 110 million won ($107,684) worth of cash in her room, which was apparently going to be used to aid the men in their escape. Also found were notes and her cellphone.

In addition, two women who are presumed to be members of the Evangelical Baptist Church, the religious sect founded by the elder Yoo, were present at the residence. The head of a direct sales affiliate, Dalgubeol, Kwon is suspected of having siphoned off company money to fund the two men’s escape. She is also accused of tampering with funds reserved for missionary work by the Evangelical Baptist Church.

Kwon is currently being detained for further questioning, as investigators assume she may hold clues about the whereabouts of the two suspects.

During the investigation, prosecutors found that Kwon stayed in contact with her son Dae-gyun even while he was avoiding investigation.

Investigators believe that Kwon’s arrest may persuade Yoo and his son to turn themselves in. The search for the elder Yoo and his son picked up momentum after two key adherents were arrested earlier this month. The two female suspects, in their 60s and 50s, provided testimony that led to the eventual arrest of Oh Gap-ryeol, a brother-in-law of Yoo Byung-eun.

The women said that Oh, a former ambassador to the Czech Republic, drove Yoo out of the religious sect’s official compound, known as Geumsuwon, on April 23 after police surrounded the vicinity.

“When we questioned Oh, he testified that Yoo’s family and followers funded and gave him information about the authorities’ movements,” said a prosecutor, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Quote
Investigators believe that Kwon’s arrest may persuade Yoo and his son to turn themselves in.
It's nice to see someone has a sense of humor. ;)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 24, 2014, 12:34:29 PM
This is interesting because last month JYP Entertainment vigorously denied the rumors that they had received money from Yoo.
Earlier articles about JYP:
April 28, 2014: J.Y Park addresses religion, wife's uncle as the owner of the Sewol ferry & rumors of illegal funding (http://www.allkpop.com/article/2014/04/jy-park-addresses-religion-that-his-wifes-uncle-is-the-owner-of-the-sewol-ferry-rumors-of-illegal-funding)
April 29, 2014: Park Jin-young denies illegal fund transfer with Sewol (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/04/113_156311.html)
April 29, 2014: JYP dispels rumors of illegal activities (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2988530)
Quote
Leading K-pop agency JYP Entertainment said in a statement yesterday it is true that Park Jin-young’s wife is the niece of Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, but that there was no illegal financial flow from Yoo’s Christian cult coming into the company. The move was made to dispel rumors online that allege a cozy relationship between JYP Entertainment and Yoo Byung-eun’s Christian cult, also known as “salvation sects.” Yoo was reportedly the leader of the cult. Prosecutors have summoned Yoo for questioning over allegations that he neglected his duty and embezzled funds.

A few online accounts wrongfully claimed that the Financial Supervisory Service had begun investigating the case between Yoo’s company and JYP Entertainment based on evidence that there was illegal influx of 500 million won ($483,325) from Yoo’s religious group to JYP.

“There has never been any kind of illegal financial transfer to the company, not even a cent. We admit that his wife is Yoo Byung-eun’s relative, but Park, on the other hand, does not subscribe to any particular religion,” a JYP official told the Korea JoongAng Daily.

The agency said that there has been no investigation by the FSS and added that it might take legal action against the rumor.
And now comes a report that JYP Entertainment is "about to be" investigated:
JYP Entertainment probed over Sewol (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140623001179)
Quote
While some TV celebrities are suspected of having cozy relations with fugitive Yoo Byung-eun, owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, a major entertainment company has also come under the spotlight in the wake of the prosecution taking into custody his younger brother, Byung-ho.

Following the detainment of the runaway’s older brother Byung-il, investigators arrested Yoo Byung-ho late Sunday. He is the father-in-law of singer-songwriter Park Jin-young, CEO of JYP Entertainment.

The capture of Park’s father-in-law undermined shares of one of the nation’s top three entertainment firms. The stock price of JYP Ent. plunged 5.86 percent from a trading session earlier to close at 4,180 won ($4.0) on the secondary KOSDAQ on Monday.

The stock price of Park’s company has continued to drop since the April 16 ferry disaster. Its closing price was 6,080 won on April 15.

There have also been speculations that Park is a devotee of the Salvation Sect, which is reportedly led by the ill-fated ferry’s owner.

Further, law enforcement authorities and financial regulators are poised to conduct a full-fledged investigation into corporate bank accounts of JYP Entertainment to verify whether there has been shady funding between the company and units of Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ferry.

As with some relatives and the wife of Yoo Byung-eun, the 62-year-old Byung-ho has been picked up on the suspicion of embezzlement, totaling at least one billion won, from Chonghaejin Marine’s sister firms.

JYP Entertainment has publicized its position that it has not made any dubious deals with Chonghaejin or Yoo’s family. CEO Park, 42, married the second daughter of Yoo Byung-ho in October 2013.

The prosecution, however, is considering scrutinizing the company’s accounts after asking the Gwangju District Court to issue an arrest warrant for the fugitive’s brother to take him into custody this week.

On Monday, the prosecution requested a warrant for Yoo Byung-eun’s wife, Kwon Yoon-ja, who was detained last Saturday.

Another JYP story from May 2, 2014: JYP Entertainment Under Investigation Following Allegedly Involvement With Sewol Ferry Operating Company (http://uk.kpopstarz.com/articles/3803/20140502/jyp-entertainment-under-investigation-following-allegedly-involvement-sewol-ferry-operating.htm)

And from today:
http://netizenbuzz.blogspot.kr/2014/06/jyp-entertainments-stock-prices-drop.html (http://netizenbuzz.blogspot.kr/2014/06/jyp-entertainments-stock-prices-drop.html)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 25, 2014, 04:18:44 AM
June 23, 2014: Detention warrant sought for Yoo's wife (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/06/116_159642.html)
Quote
The prosecution asked the court Monday to issue a warrant to arrest former Semo Group Chairman Yoo Byung-eun's wife for breach of trust.

Kwon Yun-ja, 71, the allegedly estranged wife of the fugitive and owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, is the third family member of Yoo facing detention. Prosecutors believe the measures against Yoo's family members may increase pressure on Yoo and his two sons, who have been on the run, to give themselves up.

The two people already arrested are Kwon's brother and CEO of Trigon Korea, Kwon Oh-kyun, and Yoo's elder brother, Yoo Byung-il.

Kwon was taken into custody Saturday at an apartment in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, along with two women who were with her. The Incheon District Prosecutors' Office filed for arrest warrants against these two as well.

Kwon is president of Dalgubeol, a door-to-door sales company based in Daegu. She is suspected of damaging the firm by allowing cash to flow into businesses owned by Yoo and their eldest son, Yoo Dae-gyun.

She is the daughter of Kwon Shin-chan, a pastor who created the Salvation Sect with Yoo.

The prosecution is expected to seek a warrant to detain Yoo Byung-ho, who was taken into custody Sunday from his home in Daegu.

Byung-ho used to work as an auditor in a Semo affiliate called Saiso, and is suspected of getting the firm to pay billions of won to Yoo's family in consulting fees and for Yoo's photographs.

His daughter married singer and founder of JYP Entertainment Park Jin-young last October.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 25, 2014, 06:02:05 AM
From earlier in May. It sounds like Eugene is involved in the lesser known of the three Guwonpa group. I really don't know much about them except the shared roots from 30 years ago that she mentions:
Eugene Clears Up Rumors of Involvement in Salvation Sect (http://www.soompi.com/2014/05/10/eugene-clears-up-rumors-of-involvement-in-salvation-sect/#.U6khXfl_vTp)
Quote
S.E.S member Eugene recently cleared up the rumors of her being involved in the Salvation Sect, which involves Yoo Byeong Eon, the de facto owner of Cheonghaejin Marine, the operator of the Sewol ferry.

On May 7, Eugene posted a message on her fan cafe with the title “It’s a sunny afternoon.” In her message, she relayed, “Ever since the Salvation Sect has become a big issue these days, the media has made it seem like my church is involved too and there has been many misunderstandings. Since the Evangelical Baptist Church and our church have the same roots, we are being misunderstood. However, we have nothing to do with the Salvation Sect.”

“It is true that Pastor Kwon of the Evangelical Baptist Church and our Pastor Lee have worked together in the past. However, ever since Pastor Kwon’s son-in-law Yoo Byeong Eon started his business, the church began to lose its true principles. So Pastor Lee left the Evangelical Baptist Church and started the Korean Jesus Baptist Church. That was 32 years ago,” she continued.

Eugene added, “I don’t think it’s right to treat the two churches the same and criticize our church just because the roots are the same. But many have been talking about our church separately from the Salvation Sect. There is talk that our church teaches things that go against Christianity. If that’s true, I will find someplace else. This is just so groundless that I am very bewildered and upset.”

The public has made similiar criticisms against Park Jin Young, accusing him of having monetary involvement between JYP Entertainment and Yoo Byeong Eon as well as religious involvement in the Salvation Sect. Park Jin Young’s wife is the niece of Yoo Byeong Eon.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 25, 2014, 09:56:54 AM
Lots of interest (and visits here) today from the possible association of JYP Entertainment:
http://kayoforum.net/threads/jyp-entertainments-stock-prices-drop-rapidly-due-to-relation-to-fugitive-yoo-byung-eun.34842/ (http://kayoforum.net/threads/jyp-entertainments-stock-prices-drop-rapidly-due-to-relation-to-fugitive-yoo-byung-eun.34842/)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 25, 2014, 02:30:34 PM
http://nwww.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140624001294 (http://nwww.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140624001294)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 26, 2014, 11:46:03 AM
June 25, 2014: Ferry owner still at large 2 months after sinking (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140625001088)
Quote
The prosecution has yet to arrest the fugitive Yoo Byung-eun though it has been more than two months since the law enforcement agency barred the Sewol owner from leaving the nation on April 21.

It has been more than one month since the prosecution initially raided Geumsuwon, a compound of the Salvation Sect south of Seoul, which is led by the 73-year-old fugitive. Investigators forced their way into Geumsuwon twice: on May 21 and June 11.

Further, Yoo’s second son, Hyuk-gi, fled abroad right before the overseas travel ban was slapped on the ferry owner and about 30 other irregularity-ridden suspects including his relatives and heads of Chonghaejin Marine Co. affiliates.

Reportedly failing to determine the whereabouts of Yoo and his oldest son, Dae-kyun, both of whom have been on the nation’s most wanted list, prosecutors have only captured his wife, brothers and in-laws.

While French investigators arrested Yoo’s oldest daughter, Seom-na, in Paris in late May, it is uncertain whether the Korean prosecution will successfully garner French judges’ approval for extraditing her to her homeland.

Investigators also reportedly withdrew their full-fledged tracking activities in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, where Yoo was suspected to have been hiding.

The prosecution, however, claims that it is putting psychological pressure on the two fugitives ― Yoo and his oldest son ― by continuously arresting relatives.

Its actions have included taking Yoo’s older brother, Byung-il, and wife, Kwon Yoon-ja, into custody, and indicting his brother-in-law Oh-kyun for irregularities involving the embezzlement of funds held by Chonghaejin Marine’s units or raised by devotees of the Salvation Sect.

The Incheon District Court is also expected to issue an arrest warrant for Yoo’s younger brother, Byung-ho, as requested by the prosecution.

Investigators apprehended Yoo Byung-ho last Sunday. He is the father-in-law of singer-songwriter Park Jin-young, chief executive of JYP Entertainment.

As with some relatives and the wife of Yoo Byung-eun, the 62-year-old Byung-ho has been picked up on the suspicion of embezzlement, totaling about a billion won, from Chonghaejin Marine’s sister firms.

The indicted Kwon and his sister Yoon-ja are the children of the late pastor Kwon Shin-chan, who reportedly created the Salvation Sect with Yoo Byung-eun, his son-in-law. While the sect leaders claimed that it was an evangelical Baptist church, it had been labeled as heretical by the denomination.

Investigators alleged that the irregular funding or embezzlement conducted by Yoo’s wife came to 29 billion won ($28.4 million)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 26, 2014, 09:45:59 PM
Another arrest yesterday (see the last two paragraphs - sentences rather):
July 25, 2014: Fugitive ferry owner's brother detained for alleged embezzlement (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/25/39/0302000000AEN20140625010300315F.html)
Quote
The younger brother of the fugitive billionaire who owns the sunken ferry Sewol was formally detained Wednesday pending trial for alleged embezzlement.

Incheon District Court in the western port city of Incheon approved prosecutors' request for an arrest warrant for Yoo Byung-ho, the younger brother of Yoo Byung-eun, the 73-year-old fugitive whose family owns ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

The younger Yoo is accused of borrowing 3 billion won (US$2.94 million) from one of the affiliates run by his elder brother's family, prosecutors said. He allegedly made members of a religious group pay back 1.5 billion won on his behalf while the affiliate suffered losses of 1.5 billion won, they added.

The latest arrest brought to four the total number of Yoo's family and relatives formally detained over the April sinking of the ferry Sewol that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Prosecutors suspect that corruption by Yoo's family resulted in lax safety practices, such as cargo overloading, which ultimately led to the tragedy. The prosecution office has offered a 500 million won bounty for the capture of Yoo Byung-eun. He is still at large despite a massive manhunt across the country.

Meanwhile, a close aide to the fugitive owner was also arrested by police in Suwon, just south of Seoul, on Wednesday, officers said.

According to the North Chungcheong Police Agency, Lee Seok-hwan, an influential member of the religious group, the Evangelical Baptist Church, was arrested at a parking lot after avoiding a manhunt for weeks.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 27, 2014, 05:14:21 AM
My first thought was this was some kind of masterful joke, the work of a comic genius:
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/urge-s-korean-government-press-stop-attack-against-church-aftermath-ferry-tragedy/cPkSn8f1 (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/urge-s-korean-government-press-stop-attack-against-church-aftermath-ferry-tragedy/cPkSn8f1)

It was started on April 25, which is a couple of days before the first English reports linking the ferry and Yoo to the "church".

Quote
Urge S. Korean Government & Press to Stop the Attack Against Church in the Aftermath of Ferry Tragedy

While the exact cause of Sewol Ferry's sinking accident is yet to be investigated, this tragedy is known to be resulted from possible ship defects, the crew's improper maneuvering and inability to evacuate passengers. While the direct responsibility goes to the crew and the operating company, the media is abnormally focusing on the associated church organization who has no direct involvement in the day-to-day operations, while distorting it as a cult. Government authorities launched an unprecedented investigation, including a complete church raid, directing the public anger away from the naval police, the national disaster control and government authorities. We ask that the S. Korean government and press to cease the attack, and protect violation of basic religious rights and freedom.

It already has well over 100,000 "signatures". That's less believable than AHAE's 2.7 million photographs in 4 years out the same window claim.  :o

And the creator of the petition and the first signatory gave his/her address as Bedford Hills, NY, which just happens to be where AHAE Press is located.  (http://companies.findthebest.com/l/9082841/Ahae-Press-Inc-in-Bedford-Hills-NY)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 28, 2014, 12:01:48 AM
Yoo believed to be using Viber to evade investigators (http://)
Quote
Yoo Byung-eun, the fugitive owner of the sunken Sewol ferry and his son Dae-kyun are believed to be using a U.S. messaging app Viber to evade a nationwide manhunt, prosecutors said Thursday.

According to the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office, investigators secured testimony from Yoo's aides that they communicated with him through the app for some time after he began hiding out in April.

Yoo reportedly told the aides to download the app, saying using Viber would be effective in evading investigators.

Similar to Korea's Kakao Talk, the U.S. app provides free messaging and call services, and has features to protect users from wiretapping and monitoring, prosecutors said.

Viber users can also delete the history of callers.

"This was confirmed by family members and their close aides who have been detained and questioned," a prosecutor said.

Also, the Yoos are believed to be using different USIM cards for smartphones to confuse investigators.

Meanwhile, the government has seized assets worth 431.5 billion won ($424 million) owned by Yoo, his family members and executives of his firms, court officials said.

They include Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the ferry Sewol and Kim Han-sik, president of the ferry's operator Chonghaejin Marine.

The government will soon file a lawsuit against them. If it wins, the money will be used to compensate victims' families as well as cover costs for salvaging and rescue operations.

Observers say it may take at least a couple of years until the final ruling is made.

On Wednesday, the police arrested Lee Seok-hwan, considered Yoo's "right-hand man," in a parking lot in Suwon, south of Seoul. Lee is believed to be an influential member of the Evangelical Baptist Church reportedly led by Yoo.

On the same day, Yoo's younger brother Byung-ho was formally detained for alleged embezzlement. He allegedly borrowed 3 billion won from one of the affiliates run by his elder brother's family, according to the prosecution.

The younger brother is also accused of coercing the church members to pay back 1.5 billion won one of his affiliate companies lost in business. Prosecutors suspect corruption by Yoo's family caused cargo overloading and other lax safety measures on the Sewol.

Yoo's oldest daughter Som-na was detained in France last month, followed by Kwon Oh-kyun, his brother-in-law; Byung-il, Yoo's older brother; Gabriel Oh, Yoo's sister's husband; and his sister, as well as Yoo's wife Kwon Yun-ja, who was arrested on June 21.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 28, 2014, 12:03:54 PM
Some interesting details in this article:
June 26, 2014: Ferry Disaster] Prosecution pressures Yoo to turn himself in (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140626001267)
Quote
Investigators are reportedly pressuring fugitive Yoo Byung-eun to give himself up to police by sending message from law enforcement to the de facto Sewol owner via his brother-in-law, Gabriel Oh.

According to investigative insiders, the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office is making low-key contact with Gabriel Oh, a younger brother-in-law of Yoo, who served as the Korean Ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2010-2013.

Though the prosecution had brought in Oh and his wife for colluding with Yoo in business irregularities, it dropped its earlier position of taking him into custody by asking the court to issue arrest warrants.

Prosecutors’ release of Oh and his wife came as they allegedly expressed willingness to actively cooperate with the investigation by persuading the 73-year-old runaway to turn himself in, some insiders noted.

While Yoo is saddled with a variety of misconducts while owning Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the Sewol, the prosecution has been striving to locate the fugitive’s whereabouts for about two months.

The prosecution is pinning hopes on Oh’s role as a proxy or mediator in terms of either arresting Yoo or getting him to surrender.

The government said Thursday that it would call on Yoo and his family to pay back 403 billion won ($395 million) as part of its right to demand indemnity for the victims and tragic accident.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are set to ask the Incheon District Court to issue an arrest warrant for Yoo’s close confidant, Lee Suk-hwan, who is a leader at Geumsuwon, a compound of the Salvation Sect which is reportedly led by Yoo.

The 63-year-old aide has been known as the figure who masterminded illegal cross-funding among units of Chonghaejin Marine Co.

Investigators also have not ruled out the possibility that some remarks by Yoo’s aides could have been a behind-the-scenes tactic to spread false information on the whereabouts of Yoo and his eldest son Dae-gyun, both of whom are on the nationwide wanted list.

One day after the April 16 ferry disaster, Yoo allegedly instructed some hundred devotees of the Salvation Sect to take countermeasures against the government’s stern position against the sect by delivering them emergency messages through social networking services, according to a TV news provider.

Yoo’s SNS message to followers was contradictory to his remarks that he would closely coordinate with prosecutors over their investigation into the ferry sinking.

Investigators have also raised the possibility that internal information on the search for the fugitive might have been leaked.

A senior prosecutor in charge of the team was quoted by an online news provider as saying, “There is a suspicion that former (Semo Group) chairman Yoo’s hurried escape ― as brutal criminals do ― could have been conducted as soon as his followers were informed of the direction of the prosecution’s investigation.”

The No. 3 figure at the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office also alleged that someone in a high position, possibly outside of the Salvation Sect, may have systematically facilitated his getaway.
June 27, 2014: Gov't Lays Claim to Ferry Owner's Assets (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/06/27/2014062702980.html)
Quote
The government has lodged a claim to any properties held directly or by proxy by ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon, the fugitive owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, to cover compensation payments for the victims of the April 16 disaster.

The Justice Ministry has calculated the cost of search and rescue operations, compensation payments for the victims of the ferry accident, vessel salvage and other related expenses at W403.1 billion (US$1=W1,016) and filed for the sequestration of assets owned by some 20 people including Yoo, executives of Chonghaejin Marine, and crewmembers of the ferry.

A Justice Ministry official said, "With this seizure we want to freeze the assets of individuals who will be held responsible for coverage in compensating the victims and their families."

The Seoul Central District Court must now decide whether to approve the application.

Although the government can sequester more than W400 billion worth of assets from Yoo and other employees of Chonghaejin Marine, the actual amount will probably fall short.

Those of Yoo's assets the government is laying claim to overlap with W37.3 billion prosecutors have already frozen. Even if the estimated W33 billion in assets held by Chonghaejin Marine are added, the total amounts to only around W70 billion and barely tops W100 billion if the assets of the captain, crew and other staff of the ferry operator are included.

The official said the government may well decide to seize more assets de-facto owned by Yoo, an undischarged bankrupt, and his family

Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 28, 2014, 09:55:29 PM
More on the recently announced asset seizure:
June 28, 2014: Sewol suspects’ assets to be seized (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2991271)
Quote
The government on June 20 requested the provisional seizure of assets owned by the people allegedly responsible for the Sewol ferry accident in order to reimburse a 403.1 billion won ($397.5 million) expenditure in handling the crisis.

The ship’s sinking on April 16 in the waters off Korea’s southwestern coast left nearly 300 passengers dead, mostly high school students on a class trip to Jeju Island.

Those named in the applications are Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the ferry, his family members, the ship’s crew members and officials from the Chonghaejin Marine Company, the Sewol’s operator.

Once the Seoul Central District Court accepts the application, those assets cannot be sold.

As a preliminary measure, officials will hold the collected assets until trials begin in the Sewol ferry case. If the suspects are ruled to be responsible for the accident, those assets will be used to compensate the expenses accrued in the management of the disaster.

Necessary reimbursement costs may be much higher. The government estimated the salvage of the ship to be only about 100 billion won, while maritime experts anticipate it would be around 300 to 400 billion won.

However, authorities face an uphill battle in collecting the funds because of complicated legal processes, and have secured about 200 billion won so far.

Although the assets of Yoo and his affiliates are believed to total more than 400 billion won, they are known to be liable for 374.7 billion won. The Evangelical Baptist Church that Yoo co-founded in 1960s also mortgaged its assets for tens of billions of won.

It is another problem for the government whether the reimbursement comes prior to the liabilities and collateral securities.

Prosecutors are also preparing evidence to prove that Yoo personally managed his affiliates and owns the assets of the religious sect - better known as Guwonpa, or the Salvation Sect - under fake names.

The prosecution currently has in its possession video footage of a lecture Yoo delivered to the sect’s believers in April 2010 at a hotel in Seoul.

In the lecture, Yoo admitted, “I have bought several mountains. I could not buy [the property] under my name, so I legally registered the mountains [under fake names].”


Authorities also suspect that Yoo gave an 8,900,000-square-meter (890-hectare) estate belonging to one of the sect’s farming companies to his youngest son, Yoo Hyeok-gi, after he wed.

The prosecution and police have yet to find Yoo and have only arrested some of his aides so far.

“To increase the amount of the reimbursement, we will trace not only his overseas assets, but also the assets he and his family embezzled under fake names,” a prosecutor said.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 29, 2014, 02:47:46 AM
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/27/9/0302000000AEN20140627009300315F.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/06/27/9/0302000000AEN20140627009300315F.html)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on June 30, 2014, 01:07:02 AM
http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/06/27/2014062702922.html (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/06/27/2014062702922.html)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 02, 2014, 08:16:14 AM
A few recent articles and a link to the homepage of the Salvation Sect's Jingle Bell Land :)

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140701001098 (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140701001098)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/south-korea-ferry-disaster-owner-blamed-for-5-earlier-crashes-1.2691670 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/south-korea-ferry-disaster-owner-blamed-for-5-earlier-crashes-1.2691670)

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/07/01/49/0302000000AEN20140701007352315F.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/07/01/49/0302000000AEN20140701007352315F.html)

http://www.jingle-bell.co.kr/ (http://www.jingle-bell.co.kr/)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 03, 2014, 02:16:11 AM
Updates will be a little more infrequent this week. I'm of to:
http://www.icsahome.com/events/conferenceannual (http://www.icsahome.com/events/conferenceannual)
Excited! But my presentation isn't quite finished...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 03, 2014, 05:00:03 PM
http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/07/02/2014070201258.html (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/07/02/2014070201258.html)

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/07/02/32/0302000000AEN20140702006400315F.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/07/02/32/0302000000AEN20140702006400315F.html)

http://www.courrier-picard.fr/region/a-compiegne-le-mecene-plonge-le-festival-dans-l-embarras-ia0b0n398527 (http://www.courrier-picard.fr/region/a-compiegne-le-mecene-plonge-le-festival-dans-l-embarras-ia0b0n398527)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 04, 2014, 08:12:06 AM
Fugitive ferry owner unlikely to be overseas: justice minister (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/07/03/71/0302000000AEN20140703006700315F.html)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 05, 2014, 09:55:35 AM
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/07/04/75/0302000000AEN20140704007500315F.html (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/07/04/75/0302000000AEN20140704007500315F.html)
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 10, 2014, 10:57:53 AM
Fugitive Ferry Owner Carrying W2 Billion in Cash (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2014/07/09/2014070901105.html)
Quote
Yoo Byung-eon, the owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, is carrying around a bag with W2 billion to aid his continuing flight from the law (US$1=W1,012).

Investigators at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office said Yoo bought a piece of real estate in southwestern Korea while he was hiding in a house in the area in May. He purchased the land in the names of members of the cult he leads.

The previous owner said Yoo paid the W250 million price in cash out of a suitcase. Judging by the size of the bag, Yoo is believed to be carrying around W2 billion.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have apparently obtained some 300 mobile phone numbers of cult members that they allegedly used to aid the escape of their leader, whom they revere like a god, from a sprawling compound south of Seoul. The phones were registered under aliases.

Prosecutors are now tracking the numbers they called. They also plan to look into any recent real estate transactions of cult members and their relatives in order to seize more assets to cover compensation payments for victims of the April 16 ferry disaster.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 15, 2014, 01:09:48 PM
July 5, 2014: Drunk slaps policeman over elusive ferry owner (http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/07/113_160427.html)
Quote
Busan police are questioning a man who, while intoxicated, allegedly slapped a policeman over law enforcement's failure to catch the country's most famous fugitive.

After round of heavy drinks, the man, 48, identified only as Kim, fell asleep in front of a seafood restaurant at the Yeongdo district. The policeman was called to the scene to wake Kim up.

Kim was not pleased to be disturbed from his sleep. "How dare you wake up a person when you idiots can't even catch Yoo Byung-eun," the man allegedly said as he slapped the policeman before lying down on the pavement again.

When the policeman tried to wake him up again, Kim reacted furiously, slapping the policeman six more times.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 15, 2014, 01:16:01 PM
July 14, 2014: New arrest warrant needed to nab Yoo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2991961)
Quote
The prosecution and police are redoubling their efforts to nab Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken Sewol ferry, saying they will ask a local court to reissue an arrest warrant if necessary.

The current warrant for Yoo, issued on May 22, will expire July 22. The prosecution said it will request a court to issue a new warrant if they can’t find Yoo by the deadline.

Prosecutors held a meeting with the police yesterday to discuss new ways to find the 73-year-old patriarch of the family behind the Chonghaejin Marine Company, the ship’s operator, who has been wanted since he refused to come in for questioning by the prosecution in May.

An official from the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office, where the meeting took place, told reporters yesterday, “We will do our best to arrest Yoo by July 22.” He said they are tracking down the residences and cars of his aides, relatives and other people who were suspected of helping him escape.

According to the prosecution, a total of 115 prosecutors and investigators were dispatched to hunt down Yoo, along with 665 policemen and 2,100 Coast Guard officials as well as about 60 naval vessels searching ships that he may have used to flee abroad.

“We made efforts to search any possible places where Yoo could be hiding by investigating about 1,000 mobile phones of the members of Guwonpa [the Salvation Sect, a Christian religious group led by Yoo],” an official of the prosecution said.

The prosecution has promised an unprecedented reward of 500 million won ($490,667) for information leading to his arrest. Despite some media reports that Yoo fled abroad, the prosecution said it believes he is still in Korea.

“Based on our investigations so far, both prosecution and police are sure that he is hiding in the country,” a prosecution official said at the briefing. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 16, 2014, 01:12:17 PM
July 15, 2014: Salvation Sect raises funds for fugitive Yoo (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/07/116_161049.html)
Quote
The religious cult led by the nation's most wanted fugitive, Yoo Byung-eun, is reportedly asking its followers to donate 6 billion won ($5.9 million) in cash to protect its headquarters from the authorities. But many analysts say the real intent behind the Salvation Sect's fundraising is to finance Yoo's continued flight from the prosecution.

According to a relative of a Salvation Sect follower who recently appeared on a TV program, the cult is encouraging its members to donate money to defend Geumsuwon, the religious sect's stronghold in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, from the government. The compound was raided twice by investigators seeking to arrest Yoo and those aiding his escape from the prosecution.

The individual said that the Salvation Sect has recently launched a nationwide fund-raising campaign to collect at least 6 billion won, the third of its kind since April 16 when the ferry Sewol sank off the southwestern coast.

The cult first collected 500 million won from its members purportedly to investigate the cause of the Sewol ferry sinking. It then raised 3 billion won, saying it needs large sums of money to effectively defend the owner of the sunken ship in court.

According to a voice file acquired by a local media outlet, Cho Seung-ik, the general affairs manager of the Salvation Sect, reportedly told hundreds of followers last week that they should actively take part in the fundraising in order to protect Geumsuwon from the government. Cho allegedly said that the cult is in crisis and that its members must donate at least 6 billion won by July 20.

However, analysts suspect that the collection of the money is to provide cash to Yoo and his eldest son Dae-gyun who have been on the run for more than two months.

In addition, the Salvation Sect is reportedly attempting to brainwash its followers by saying that Yoo has been falsely accused of crimes. The former Semo Group chairman is suspected of embezzlement, tax evasion and other irregularities that could have been contributory to the ferry disaster.
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 17, 2014, 02:07:08 AM
Quite a few criminals owe Ahae a debt of gratitude:

July 16, 2014: Unsolved cases surge after sinking (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2992063)
Quote
The wheels of justice have stalled in thousands of criminal cases over the few past months since a swath of police and prosecutors were dispatched to help hunt down the de facto owner of the Chonghaejin Marine Company, the operator of the sunken Sewol.

The prosecutors’ offices that led the investigation into the ferry disaster and 73-year-old Yoo Byung-eun, the owner of the company, saw a surge in the number of unresolved criminal cases since the maritime tragedy in April, according to a report released by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.

The April 16 disaster claimed the lives of more than 300 people, making it Korea’s worst maritime accident.

The report said the number of stalled cases in the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office doubled from April through June. The Incheon office is one of three main branches conducting the probe and manhunt.

The average number of unresolved cases between January and March stood at 3,989, but that figure rose to 6,099 in May and 7,193 in June.

The other two prosecutors’ offices, the Gwangju District Prosecutors’ Office and the Busan District Prosecutors’ Office, also experienced a more than 60 percent increase in the number of delayed cases.

Following a nationwide search for Yoo in May, around 5,000 police and prosecutors have been solely dedicated to locating the elusive business mogul, according to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.

The prosecution is pursuing Yoo over allegations of his involvement in financial irregularities. Investigators also allege that he directed or covered up unfair business practices, such as overloading the Sewol ferry and excessively remodeling the ship at the expense of passengers’ safety.

Many of the unresolved cases concern fraud, embezzlement and other crimes that have been transferred from the police.

The staff shortage has triggered concerns that other criminal cases related to the public may go unnoticed.

The country’s top prosecutor encouraged the rapid arrest of Yoo yesterday while ensuring that any unsettled cases would be handled soon. Prosecutor General Kim Jin-tae issued the order yesterday at a meeting with senior prosecutors amid the prolonged manhunt for Yoo.

“I’d like to apologize. I regret that Yoo Byung-eun and his family members have not yet been captured, despite months of effort by a joint investigation team consisting of prosecutors, police and other government agencies,” Kim said.

“We currently need to review our method of investigation to see if there are any problems in our search efforts so far, and we need to outline what needs to be corrected and what can be done to make sure Yoo is arrested quickly,” the prosecutor-general said.

The chief prosecutor also asked other prosecutors to pay attention to investigating other criminal cases, saying that they must be handled swiftly. “Please put efforts into swiftly solving other general cases, as they equally matter,” he said.

But Kim also explained the reasons for the staff shortage.

“Since the ferry disaster, we have not only investigated the people associated with Yoo, but also any potential collusion between state regulators and private industries.”

The Park Geun-hye administration has vowed to eliminate rampant corruption in the government agencies that oversee industries following the Sewol’s sinking. Such corruption is believed to have been a factor in the tragedy.

“We had to send a lot of prosecutors to conduct a wide-ranging investigation,” Kim said.

“But I’d like to emphasize that we consider other cases equally important. So we will work on arranging personnel so that those cases can be handled in a proper way.”

So far, the joint investigation team has arrested and indicted more than 30 crew members, Chonghaejin Marine Company employees and key aides to Yoo. However, it has failed to bring the business mogul and his two sons to justice, even though authorities have raised the rewards for information leading to the patriarch’s arrest and that of his eldest son to 500 million won and 100 million won, respectively. ...
Title: Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
Post by: Peter on July 24, 2014, 12:10:12 PM
This was the last piece of news about the manhunt before it was announced Yoo's body had been found. It was actually published the same day.

July 22, 2014: New arrest warrant reissued for ferry owner Yoo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2992326)
Quote
Incheon District Court yesterday reissued a pre-trial arrest warrant for Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the Sewol ferry’s operator Chonghaejin Marine Company, who has evaded a massive manhunt for over two months.

The court’s move came after Incheon prosecutors requested a renewed warrant following two months of failed attempts to find the 73-year-old businessman, who is also the founder of a Christian cult known as the Salvation Sect, or Guwonpa.

“Yoo has shown signs of systematic fleeing and there is a need to put pressure on the fugitive,” said Judge Ahn Dong-bum, who issued the warrant. Ahn added that he took into account “the prosecutors’ will to capture” the wanted man.

The renewal of the warrant came as the arrest warrant issued May 22 was set to expire today. The Incheon court issued the first warrant after Yoo did not show up for prosecution questioning. Yoo also failed to attend a hearing to examine the validity of a pre-trial arrest warrant requested by prosecutors.

The new warrant’s expiration date is January 22, 2015. The prosecutors’ request reflects their conclusion that the Sewol’s owner is still hiding somewhere in the country despite speculation that he fled the country, such as to China, on a boat from the west coast in the Jeolla region,

The authorities are offering a reward of 500 million won ($486,500) for any information that could lead to Yoo’s capture. They are offering a reward of 100 million won for information leading to the capture of Yoo’s eldest son Dae-gyun, 44.

Prosecutors believe Yoo’s mismanagement of the ferry operator, including embezzlement, led to overloading of cargo and lax safety oversight that led to the April 16 sinking that left more than 300 people dead or missing, mostly high school students on a school trip to Jeju Island.

Law enforcement has so far mobilized 1.3 million policemen at various times in the manhunt to capture Yoo, who was convicted of embezzlement and served four years in prison in the early 1990s.

Adding pressure on the fugitive, an Incheon court yesterday seized an additional 34.4 billion won of Yoo’s assets on top of 71 billion won already frozen. The prosecutors estimate Yoo raised 139 billion won through alleged embezzlement, breach of trust and tax evasion.

And since this thread is now quite long, I have begun a separate thread for articles concerning the death of Yoo here. (http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=1021.0)