Ferry Owner's Driver Outwitted Police Twice

Ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon's driver outwitted police twice during a manhunt that came to an end when he turned himself in on Tuesday morning.

On the first occasion Yang Hoe-jung escaped a raid on the cottage in southwestern Korea where Yoo had been hiding on May 25. He slipped away from a nearby training center owned by the ferry owner's cult, where he was spending the nights, when investigators arrived.

When he heard investigators drive up to the parking lot of the training center, he was sure that they would be guarding the gate but was surprised to see it empty and simply fled into the night to Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, where his sister-in-law lives.

He then moved to the sect's sprawling compound in Anseong south of Seoul on the night of the same day.

When investigators raided the compound on June 11 and 12, deploying 10,000 police with sniffer dogs and electronic sensors, Yang hid in a small space inside a supply shed.

Police search the compound of the Evangelical Baptist Church founded by Yoo Byung-eon in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province on June 12, 2014. Police search the compound of the Evangelical Baptist Church founded by Yoo Byung-eon in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province on June 12, 2014.

Yoo himself fooled investigators during the May 25 raid of the cottage by hiding in a secret compartment Yang had built there. The ferry owner escaped from the cottage the following day.

Yang told prosecutors that when he took Yoo to the cottage in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, he modified an existing cubbyhole in the cottage and even had Yoo practice hiding in preparation for a raid.

The secret compartment was cleverly crafted since Yang is also a carpenter.

Yang also installed blackout curtains at the cottage and fitted a padlock on the outside of the entrance door to make it look as if the house was empty.

A prosecution spokesman said more investigation is needed to confirm if Yang's account is true, but it looks as if his escape is another in a long line of official blunders in the wake of the ferry disaster.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 30, 2014 11:32 KST