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INCHEON, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors said Tuesday that they have decided not to indict the late shipping tycoon accused of a host of crimes that they believe contributed to April's ferry disaster.

Yoo Byung-eun, a 73-year-old billionaire whose family owns Sewol operator Chonghaejin Marine Co., faced various corruption charges, including embezzlement, breach of trust and tax evasion, prosecutors said.

Releasing an interim outcome of their 110-day-long probe, investigators at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office in the western port city of Incheon said that they have concluded that there is no legal basis to indict Yoo.

"We made the decision that there is no arraignment right as it is confirmed that Yoo had died," said an investigator close to the investigation.

The badly decomposed body of Yoo, who was the target of a massive manhunt over alleged corruption since the ferry sank off the country's southwestern coast in mid-April, was found in the southern part of the country on June 12.

Prosecutors allege that not only had Yoo embezzled 129.1 billion won (US$125 million) from Chonghaejin Marine and evaded 15.9 billion won worth of gift taxes, but also received 15 million won per month from the ferry operator as consulting fees.

The prosecution office said it has also indicted Yoo Dae-kyun, Yoo's eldest son, on charges of misappropriating about 7.3 billion won from the ferry operator and its six other affiliates.

Prosecutors further allege that the younger Yoo, who was apprehended on July 25, pocketed 3.5 billion won from Chonghaejin Marine.

A total of 34 people, including Yoo's family members and closest aides, have been indicted for various charges in connection with the ferry disaster, prosecutors said.

The Sewol ferry capsized off southwestern South Korea on April 16 after making a sharp turn. So far, 294 people, mostly high school students, have been found dead, with 10 missing and presumed dead.

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This video gives some insight into what happened during the time the ship went down and how the government responded. The initial response from the korean government was "can we get a video" over and over again of when the ferry started to capsize. It's worth the 40 minute watch.

This is a documentary about South Korea’s Sewol ferry disaster with English subtitles.

72 hours after the sinking of the Sewol ferry on April 16, 2014. What did the South Korean government do during this period called ‘Golden Tme’ to rescue lives?

In order to answer such question, the documentary, “Golden Time for Sewol Ferry – There was no state,” was made by Newstapa based on videos that frankly recorded the disaster site and testimonies that have not been disclosed.

The documentary, produced in cooperation with the Sewol Ferry Victims’ Families Committee and a group of independent producers who record the truth about the ferry disaster, tries to show how more than 300 lives could not be rescued and therefore were lost.

And it questions if the incompetent, irresponsible attitude of the government that was shown during the “Golden Time” has changed when it comes to investigating the ferry disaster.

It also raises the need for a special law that supplements the limitations of the existing system as investigations into the ferry disaster have not produced proper outcomes after 100 days have passed since the accident.


Six teenagers who survived South Korea's worst maritime disaster in 44 years told on Monday how classmates helped them float free as water flooded their cabins despite crew instructions to stay put even as their ferry sank, killing more than 300 people.

The teenagers, whose names were withheld to protect their privacy, were giving testimony at the trial of 15 crew members, who face charges ranging from homicide to negligence for abandoning the sinking ship. "We were waiting and, when the water started coming in, the class rep told everyone to put on the life vests ... the door was above our heads, so she said we'll float and go through the door and that's how we came out," one of the teenagers said. "Other kids who got out before us pulled us out."

The ferry Sewol sank on April 16, killing 304 people, as many as 250 of them school children on a field trip. Twelve of their teachers were also killed. The ferry was on a routine trip from the port of Incheon south to Jeju island, carrying students and teachers from the Danwon High School on the outskirts of Seoul as well as other passengers and cargo.

Another of the teenagers told how crew members had told passengers, "specifically the students of Danwon High School", to stay in their cabins. "Water started to fill in and friends helped us move out," the student said.

Others described how coastguard officers waited outside the stricken ferry for passengers to swim out rather than go into the ship to try and rescue them. "They were outside. They pulled us onto boats but they didn't come inside to help," one said. "We said to ourselves, 'why aren't they coming in?'."

"More fishermen than rescuers"

Another student said it appeared there were more fishermen involved in the rescue than coastguard.Like others, she said the crew should be punished severely for their actions. "More than that, I want to know the fundamental reason why my friends had to end up like that," she said.

The six teenage survivors described how there were repeated orders not to move from their cabins. Orders to put on their life vests came much later and without any information about what was happening to the ship as it began to list sharply. They were the first of 75 children who survived due to give evidence in the trial at the Gwangju court, which has been moved to Ansan south of Seoul to accommodate the students.

Five of them gave their evidence facing away from the court. One testified from another room via closed-circuit television.

The crew members on trial, including the captain, have said they thought it was the coast guard's job to evacuate passengers. Video footage of their escape triggered outrage across South Korea. The government of President Park Geun-hye was heavily criticised over the slow and ineffective handling of the rescue operation. Park has vowed to break up the coast guard and streamline rescue operations, which are now split between the police, coast guard and others, into a single national agency.

The disaster also sparked South Korea's biggest manhunt as authorities searched for Yoo Byung-un, the man at the head of a family business that operated the doomed ferry. Yoo's badly decomposed body was only identified last week after it was found by a farmer at an orchard last month.

Earlier on Monday, a close associate of Yoo, a woman identified by police only by her last name of Kim, was arrested after handing herself in. It was believed she helped him elude police after the disaster. Another woman, the wife of Yoo's driver who was thought to have been with him during his final days at large, also turned herself in to police.

Kim's arrest came three days after police stormed an apartment on the outskirts of Seoul and found Yoo's elder son, Dae-gyun, who was wanted for embezzlement. Yoo Dae-gyun was not believed to have been as actively involved in management of the family business as his younger brother, who is believed to be in the United States. He said he only learned of his father's death from police.

Extensive decomposition of Yoo Byung-un's body meant it was not possible to determine the cause of his death despite forensic and DNA tests, authorities said last week.

We definitely should put blame on the ferry company for its actions but the response of the coast guard was just as bad.

From 1988(8 years old)-2007(27 years old). As a church member he went by Mr. Yoo. He gave about 95% of the weekly sermons after Pastor Kwon died. By the time I stopped attending he was still doing the sermons but my mom told me its just a rotation of some of the brothers currently. A little background on the sons. The eldest son was an artist(sculptures) guy he had long hair was heavy set. He went by the nickname "DK" I always thought to myself donkey kong because he was a heavier set guy*(bad joke)but it was his initials of his name Dae-Kyun he was not very directly involved in EBC at all from my time there.

His son hyucki went by "HK" he gave a lot of the sermons for winter conferences in December and also gospel conferences.Hyucki was very involved in EBC but I believe he kind of stepped away a few years ago and now its a rotation of some elders. He's a laid back dude he went to University of Michigan he gave his testimony of being a believer in Christ(Judge not) he was paralyzed for some time from an accident and was able to recover can't remember exactly the cause of it though. was donated to the church by Kevin Ham(look him up on Google he made a boatload on the .com/.cm web domains). I seen DK a few times never talked to him personally. HK I've met quite a few times and hung out with him.

I do NOT ATTEND THIS CHURCH NOW though. Since 2007 I still talk to a few people who attend regularly its been a few months probably will catch up to hear their point of view. As a person who did attend the EBC its pretty conservative. The media portrayal on Mr. Yoo is pretty bizarre though. I'm scratching my head on him having bottles of soju. The man was a super health nut 65% of his sermon revolved around health. This guy would talk all day about organic food in the year 2000 before the craze started. Sifting through the garbage for truth is hard especially with the surroundings behind the death of Mr. Yoo are quite puzzling as this whole story about him is.

The church has many faults as well though don't get me wrong but what makes up the church are humans and we all are human and will make mistakes. IMHO Mr. Yoo is getting slaughtered for something he HAD NO CONTROL or knowledge of the every day operations of that ferry. That's the sad part. I always thought the man would live to a 100 he was such a health freak all 5'4 of him he was a very short man. RIP ferry victims and Mr. Yoo.

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