Manhunt Shifts to Ferry Owner's Children

The death of ferry owner Yoo Byeong-eun has shifted the focus of manhunt to his four children, who officials believe hold the keys to the business kingdom their father built.

Only the whereabouts of one -- Yoo's eldest daughter Sum-na (48) -- are known, while the rest have gone underground leaving few clues. Yoo Sum-na awaits extradition in a French jail.

From left, Yoo Byung-eons wife Kwon Yun-ja, his eldest son Dae-gyun and second son Hyuk-ki From left, Yoo Byung-eon's wife Kwon Yun-ja, his eldest son Dae-gyun and second son Hyuk-ki

Investigators are eager to arrest all four to recover some of the costs of the rescue and search operation and compensation for the victims of the April 16 ferry disaster victims.

Prosecutors believe Yoo's eldest son Dae-gyun (44) is the only one currently in Korea and have searched a number of potential hiding places. They raided his home in Yeomgok-dong, Seoul, on May 12 after he disobeyed a summons, but to no avail.

A W100 million (US$1=W1,025) reward has been put on Yoo Dae-gyun's head and he has been put on the most wanted list.

Prosecutors believe he is being aided by former taekwondo athlete Park Soo-kyung, to whom he is close, and also put her on the wanted list. Park is the daughter of Shin Myung-hee (64), a prominent member of the sect Yoo senior founded who has been arrested for helping him escape.

But there are fears that Yoo Dae-gyun has had plenty of time to flee Korea while all efforts were focused on the futile search for his dead father.

Yoo's second son Hyuk-ki (42) holds a green card from the U.S., and prosecutors believe that is where he is. He has been put on the Interpol most-wanted list.

Immediately after ferry sank, he disappeared from New York, and there are rumors that he may have fled to Mexico.

Yoo Sum-na was hiding in a luxury apartment in Paris and was arrested by French police on May 27. Her passport has been canceled and a judge denied her bail while she awaits her extradition hearing.

If the French court decides to extradite her, Yoo Sum-na could appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court in France.

Yoo's second daughter Sang-na (46) is suspected to be either in France or the U.S., but her whereabouts remain a mystery.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 23, 2014 12:58 KST