Prosecutors in Incheon said Monday that they have found three more suitcases that accompanied ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon during his flight from the law. The bags were found at the home of a follower of the crackpot cult Yoo led.
Seven other bags filled with cash and other items that Yoo took with him after he bolted in the wake of the April 16 ferry disaster had been discovered already in June and August. They contained W2.59 billion and US$160,000 in cash, five firearms and commemorative coins.
The newly discovered bags contained no cash but an odd jumble of tokens of wealth and privilege, including 30 sets of Montblanc pens, expensive wild ginseng, commemorative coins, jade and a tube for colonic irrigation.
Prosecutors have obtained testimony from cult followers that the bags were packed by a senior female disciple around April 22, six days after the ferry Sewol sank off the southwest coast, killing more than 300 people.
The follower, who has since been arrested, taped the bags shut, and a relative of Yoo's labeled them with number tags. They were then stashed in the homes of various followers.
The relative told prosecutors that there were just the 10 bags.
A prosecution official said, "We don't know how many bags had been prepared to aid Yoo's escape, but we've probably found all of them."
The official added that despite rumors that one of the bags contained a list of politicians who had been bribed by ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, no evidence supporting the claims has been discovered and that it is highly unlikely that such sensitive information, if true, would have been left in one of the bags.
Yoo was found dead on a remote hillside in June, some weeks after he fled a hideout in South Jeolla Province.