South Korea Ferry Incident: Owner Missing, Crew Members IndictedBy: Toni Matthews-El - May 27, 2014
The tragedy of the Sewol sinking has angered many South Koreans and observers from around the world.
In an attempt to bring justice and closure to the situation, South Korean prosecutors are moving forward with plans to severely punish anyone connected with possibly causing the South Korean ferry disaster.
All crew members responsible for the ship’s steering had been detained weeks ago on charges of negligence and violation of maritime laws.
Now it is being reported that four of the ship’s crew members have been charged with manslaughter through gross negligence.
The surviving crew members abandoned ship, leaving more than 300 people to drown as the vessel turned on its side and sank beneath the South Korean waters.
If found guilty, these persons could face a penalty as severe as death. Though some feel this measure is unlikely, the emotions surrounding the sinking of the Sewol remain high. This could factor into the rulings.
In addition to the crew members being charged, South Korean law enforcement officials are also working to bring the owners of the ferry to justice.
Billionaire Yoo Byung-un, the head of the family which owned the Sewol, is a fugitive at present.
A few days ago, dozens of prosecutors accompanied police officers dressed in riot gear as they stormed a church retreat. They believed the billionaire was there hiding from law enforcement.
Unfortunately officials found that Yoo was not there. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
Authorities are offering a a 500 million won ($490,000) reward for any information that leads to Yoo’s capture.
The former ferry owner and businessman is wanted on charges that include negligence, tax evasion, and embezzlement.
Yoo’s daughter was recently apprehended in Paris. Meanwhile, Yoo’s sons remain at large.
South Korean officials believe they are hiding out somewhere in the United States.
Even as authorities are working to bring these fugitives to justice, the effort to recover bodies from the ferry continues. 16 individuals remain unaccounted for.
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