Body found in plum field in South Korea believed to be that of Sewol ferry owner

Tuesday 22 July 2014 16.38
Over 300 people, mostly school children, died when the Sewol ferry sank
Over 300 people, mostly school children, died when the Sewol ferry sank

South Korean police believe they have found the body of a fugitive businessman who owned the Sewol ferry that sank in April killing hundreds.

A massive manhunt had been launched for billionaire Yoo Byung-eun, the 73-year-old owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

He went on the run shortly after the vessel sank killing over 300 people, most of them school children.

A body found last month by police has matched the DNA of Yoo's older brother, Yonhap news agency reported tonight, leading police to believe they have located the fugitive businessman's corpse.

Yonhap reported that the body was discovered on 12 June in a plum field in Suncheon, a city 300km south of Seoul.

"We carried out a DNA test after finding a dead body in Suncheon, and the results fairly matched that of Yoo's brother," a police official said, quoted by Yonhap.

"We need to look more closely into this, but the body is believed to be Yoo's."

Mr Yoo was wanted for questioning on possible charges of embezzlement and criminal negligence, as prosecutors investigate the extent to which the disaster was caused by a lack of safety standards and regulatory violations.