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S Korea ferry boss’s son arrested

World

Seoul - South Korean police arrested Friday the fugitive son of a business tycoon who owned the Sewol ferry which sank in April with the loss of around 300 lives, officials said.

Yoo Dae-Kyun, 44, was picked up in a southern suburb of Seoul just three days after his father Yoo Byung-Eun was confirmed dead.

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South Korean coast guard officers and rescue team members try to rescue passengers from passenger ship Sewol in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Dozens of boats, helicopters and divers scrambled Wednesday to rescue more than 470 people, including 325 high school students on a school trip, after a ferry sank off South Korea's southern coast, killing at least two and injuring 14, officials said. (AP Photo/Hyung Min-woo, Yonhap) KOREA OUT

His arrest is expected to boost the official investigation into whether mismanagement by the Yoo family contributed to the ferry disaster.

Yoo Byung-Eun, 73, had been the target of an unprecedented, months-long manhunt involving tens of thousands of police officers and army troops.

His body was found on June 12, lying in a field just outside the city of Suncheon, 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Seoul.

At first, local police had no idea it was Yoo's body and a nation wide manhunt for the reclusive billionaire had continued for six weeks before DNA and fingerprint evidence revealed the corpse's identity.

State prosecutors had offered a $500,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. For the son, a reward of $100,000 has been offered.

Yoo Byung-Eun was the patriarch of the family that owned and operated the Sewol ferry which sank April 16 with the loss of around 300 lives Ämostly schoolchildren.

Yoo Byung-Eun's wife Kwon Yoon-Ja was arrested last month and their daughter Yoo Som-Na has been fighting an extradition bid in Paris.

Forensic experts said Friday they had been unable to determine the cause of Yoo Byung-Eun's death after examining his body.

The fact that the body was in a police morgue for six weeks while the manhunt was still under way triggered a storm of angry ridicule.

Two senior police officials and a top prosecutor in the case were both dismissed from their posts as a result.

Sapa-AFP

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