Cult Followers Aiding Ferry Owner's Escape Clam Up

Police have so far arrested seven followers of a cult led by Yoo Byung-eon, the fugitive de facto owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, on charges of aiding his escape. Followers of the sect have protested they are less concerned about Yoo than their religious freedom, but none of those arrested will say where he is.

One woman in her 30s, identified only by her surname Shin, was arrested earlier this week on charges of helping Yoo as he was holed up in a private home in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province. She is refusing to tell prosecutors anything and only spoke English when a judge reviewed her arrest warrant on Wednesday.

A couple of followers in their 60s looked after him at the house, and another follower, who runs an architectural firm, bought curtains for Yoo to use in the hideout and supplied him with tools to install new license plates on his getaway car.

A prosecution spokesman said, "Sect members claim they have nothing to do with Yoo and even held protests" complaining about religious persecution, "but the investigation has revealed the exact opposite."

Sect members called yet another press conference Wednesday to support Yoo and accused President Park Geun-hye of making scapegoats of Yoo and his family for the ferry disaster, even though they have yet to be found guilty by a court of law.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 29, 2014 11:06 KST