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Punish forces in prosecution, police protecting Yoo Byeong-eon

Punish forces in prosecution, police protecting Yoo Byeong-eon

Posted June. 03, 2014 04:39,   


A number of high profile figures whose names are familiar to ordinary people, including former top government officials and those from the diplomatic corps in Korea, were present at a ceremony celebrating the publishing of a book by former Semo Group Chairman Yoo Byeong-eon early last year, when the event took place in Seoul’s Gangnam district. On May 25 this year, an ad hoc spokesman for the heathen Salvation Church (Guwon sect) mentioned the names of several high profile figures as invitees at the publishing event, saying, “As prosecutors forfeited related materials, we cannot remember the detailed list.”

The Yoo family amassed more than 200 billion won (195 million U.S. dollars) in assets by founding dozens of affiliates in some 10 years after the collapse of Semo Group in 1997, an achievement that would have been impossible without support from those who seek to protect Yoo. At a meeting with senior presidential secretaries on Monday, President Park Geun-hye said, “The process through which the Yoo Byeong-eon family amassed assets would have been impossible had it not been help from illegal forces seeking to protect the family,” in urging law enforcement authorities to promptly arrest Yoo. By arresting Yoo who remains at large, the authorities should open up Pandora’s box that contains the forces who have assisted Yoo.

Prosecutors have conducted investigation to trace Yoo for 19th day, but have been belated in moves. Prosecutors reportedly have found circumstantial evidence that information related to investigating and tracing Yoo was leaked. Prosecutors say that given timing of his escape, situations have frequently happened that would be impossible to occur without cooperation by people who have access to investigation intelligence such as road inspection schedule, and information on vehicles used by suspects. It is shocking to learn that there are helpers in investigation authorities. The authorities should unearth at any cost and sternly punish those who seek to protect Yoo through secret communications.

The special investigation team was formed at Incheon District Public Prosecutors’ Office on April 20, three days after the Sewol’s tragic sinking. Investigation information has been leaked, and hardline believers of the Guwon-pa sect are systematically assisting Yoo’s escape and hiding. Nevertheless, we have no choice but to blame prosecution for lack of capability. Prosecutors sensed no signs even after Yoo had escaped from Geumsoowon in Gyeonggi Province in early May. Prosecutors deserve the criticism that while taking too lightly the importance of arresting a suspect that put the entire nation on shaky ground, they have only taken belated acts.

If authorities fail to arrest Yoo, it is impossible to conclude criminal investigation into the Sewol’s sinking, while parliamentary inspection of the government will be done superficially. Prosecutors are urged to take on the task of arresting Yoo as if they are betting their own fate in this mission. Even before arresting Yoo, prosecutors need to find legal measures that would prevent the Yoo family from siphoning off even a single penny of its wealth, which it amassed in an illegal fashion. Only then will the government be able to seek from the Yoo family the right to indemnify hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation that the government should pay to the victims.