Prosecutors have raised the bounty for the capture of Yoo Byung-eon, the de facto owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, from W50 million to W500 million (US$1=W1,025). It is the highest reward ever placed on a fugitive’s head in Korea.
The reward for information leading the arrest of Yoo's eldest son Dae-gyun has also been raised from W30 million to W100 million.
A spokesman at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office, which is investigating the Yoo family for corruption, said Sunday, "There was criticism that the original bounty was too small, so we decided to boost it drastically to persuade people to turn them in."
Prosecutors have established that the elder Yoo was until recently hiding at a private house near Suncheon, South Jeolla Province. Investigators have arrested four members of a cult led by Yoo including the owner of the home.
One of them, who works for the holding company of Chonghaejin Marine, was arrested on charges of aiding a fugitive. Identified only by his surname Han, the staffer is accused of delivering bottled water and fruit to Yoo in Suncheon.
Another confidant, identified as Choo, has also been charged, and a couple of cult members face charges of supplying Yoo with a mobile phone.
Meanwhile, police in Seoul have arrested the housekeeper of Yoo Dae-gyun’s sprawling residence on charges of aiding his escape. "We'll punish anyone who helps Yoo evade arrest," a prosecution spokesman said.