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April 25, 2014, 03:43:08 PM
Reply #15

Offline Peter

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2014, 03:43:08 PM »
Some more tidbits here. 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.

April 25, 2014, 05:27:11 PM
Reply #16

Offline Peter

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2014, 05:27:11 PM »
More about Mr Yoo's photographer alter ego:

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.


April 25, 2014, 10:29:41 PM
Reply #18

Offline Peter

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2014, 10:29:41 PM »
This article offers quite a detailed account 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....


April 25, 2014, 11:59:48 PM
Reply #19

Offline Peter

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2014, 11:59:48 PM »
More and more details are emerging 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.


April 26, 2014, 11:35:31 AM
Reply #21

Offline Peter

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2014, 11:35:31 AM »
A little more about Gu Won Pa (Salvation Sect) here: http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=575.0

And thanks to this site, we have a website for Mr. Yoo's cult: 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) and Pastor Ock-Soo Park’s group (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) 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).

April 26, 2014, 09:38:02 PM
Reply #22

Offline Peter

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2014, 09:38:02 PM »
...the late Pastor Shin-Chan Kwon (deceased) and Pastor Byung-Un Yoo’s group (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:








April 28, 2014, 04:07:17 PM
Reply #23

Offline Peter

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2014, 04:07:17 PM »
Another Korean news report, this one from CBS (Christian Broadcasting Service). They've done reports on all my favorite Korean cults:


April 29, 2014, 04:41:53 PM
Reply #24

Offline Peter

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2014, 04:41:53 PM »
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....

April 30, 2014, 11:42:41 AM
Reply #25

Offline Peter

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2014, 11:42:41 AM »
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.

May 01, 2014, 03:44:35 PM
Reply #26

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2014, 03:44:35 PM »
From last week, the article with the weirdest title to date:

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.

May 02, 2014, 05:22:37 PM
Reply #27

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2014, 05:22:37 PM »
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.

May 04, 2014, 05:48:32 PM
Reply #28

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2014, 05:48:32 PM »
The Ask A Korean blog has an excellent series on the sinking. Part 1 and part 2 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:

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.

May 05, 2014, 01:27:30 PM
Reply #29

Offline Peter

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Re: The Sewol's Cult Connection
« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2014, 01:27:30 PM »
Some more interesting tidbits of information...

Veteran actress linked to Sewol corruption probe

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.