Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Korea's Sewol Shame

The Sewol ferry disaster (16 April) gruesomely killed hundreds of Korean young people, highlighting both private-sector corruption and government incompetence. The gravely-overloaded ship was being operated criminally, but public rescue services were badly conducted. Ultimately, we saw meaningless crocodile tears from political leaders. The shocks continue.

South Korea's "Most Wanted" fugitive since the accident has been Yoo Byung-un (유병언), a Korean religious leader & wealthy industrialist whose family business networks reportedly owned & managed the MV Sewol. Details are shady due to cross-shareholding and murky definitions of asset ownership & wealth control. Korean government frictions with Yoo's religious organization have further fueled continuing corruption allegations.

In any event, "Korea's Most Wanted Man" has been in government custody for over five weeks while Korean police scoured the globe searching for him & his family. Yoo's body was found a short walk from his vacation home in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province on 12th June, but only identified today (22 July). The cause of death has yet to be determined. This long delay is surely another black eye for Korea's President, Park Geun-hye.