All four children of the Yoo Byung-eon, the dubious businessman and part-time cult leader who owns ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, have gone into hiding to evade investigators.
After his son Yoo Dae-gyun (44) failed to show up for questioning by the 10 a.m. Monday deadline, prosecutors sent investigators to Ansung south of Seoul, where he was believed to be staying, but came back empty-handed. Yoo Dae-gyun has been charged with breach of trust and embezzlement.
"It appears that the Yoo family, who managed scores of companies like their own piggy banks, is scoffing at the law, but they will surely face legal consequences equal to their offenses," a prosecution spokesman said.
Earlier, prosecutors summoned son Yoo Hyuk-ki (42) and daughter Sum-na (48) three times, but the two did not show up. They are rumored to have fled to Mexico.
Prosecutors have arrested the heads of two companies owned by their father. Executives of the businesses Yoo owns are giving themselves up easily while Yoo's children have vanished, which suggests the whole thing was planned," the spokesman said.
Around 500 followers of Yoo's cult and staff of his companies rallied in front of the Supreme Public Prosecutors' Office in southern Seoul on Monday claiming that they were victims of what they called "religious persecution" and a "witch hunt." They chanted "Let's fight!"
Prosecutors now plan to arrest Yoo Dae-gyun.
Meanwhile, investigators probing the ferry disaster off the southwest coast for which Yoo senior is ultimately being held responsible are considering charging the ship's captain Lee Joon-seok (69) with murder.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries cancelled Chonghaejin Marine's license to operate ferries on the Incheon-Jeju Island route.