Prosecutors have impounded a W540 million Bentley sedan that belonged to ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon (US$1=W1,031). Prosecutors also confiscated W70 million in cash Yoo gave one of his followers to help him escape.
Investigators with the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office on Thursday said Yoo hid in the Bentley to escape from the compound owned by his crackpot religious cult and was driven to a summer cottage in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province.
After dropping Yoo off, his driver, Yang Hoe-jung, handed the car over to another sect member. The luxury sedan was registered in the name of Yoo's oldest son, Dae-gyun.
Prosecutors will hand the car over to the government to help pay for the massive search and rescue operation that followed the April 16 ferry disaster.
Prosecutors also confiscated a bank account from the sect member containing the W70 million used to fund Yoo's escape.
Investigators on Thursday grilled the driver for a third day, seeking to find out how Yoo managed to evade arrest for so long. After the ferry owner was found dead, prosecutors promised leniency to his aides if they turn themselves in, but they are minded to indict Yang because of the gravity of his offenses and the discovery of other illegalities.
Prosecutors also believe it would not be fair for Yang to undergo investigation without arrest simply because he turned himself in while other followers have been arrested.
The driver not only played a key role in Yoo's escape but also built the secret compartment in the cottage where the fugitive hid during a police raid. A prosecution official said, "We promised leniency but can't help think differently when it comes to Yang."
Meanwhile, police are investigating people who have been spreading conspiracy theories about Yoo's death. The National Forensic Service announced that DNA from the body found in a field 2.5 km away from the summer cottage matched a sample of Yoo's DNA obtained in the police raid and his son's DNA.
But people have been spreading rumors on social media questioning the veracity of the forensic evidence.
Police are concerned that the rumors could trigger unrest.