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By Ju-min Park and Sohee Kim
INCHEON, South Korea, April 24 South Korean
prosecutors said on Thursday that they had raided shipping
safety watchdogs as part of expanded investigations following
the sinking of a ferry last week in which more than 300 people
were killed or missing presumed dead.
"The objective was to investigate malpractices and
corruption in the entire shipping industry," Song In-taek, head
deputy chief prosecutor at Incheon District Prosecution Service,
The Korea Register of Shipping, which is in charge of
testing and certifying ships, and the Korea Shipping Association
(KSA), which is responsible for routine shipment inspections,
were not immediately available for comment.
Prosecutors raided the register's headquarters in the
southern port city of Busan on Thursday. Yonhap news agency said
investigations would look at the possibility of corruption in
testing ships and whether bribes were paid.
The raid on the KSA took place on Wednesday when prosecutors
also raided the home of Yoo Byung-un, the head of a family that
owns the Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd, the company that operated
"The company will fully cooperate with the investigation,"
Kim Jae-beom, an official at Chonghaejin, told Reuters by
The finances of Chonghaejin and its complex share structure
have come into the spotlight since the disaster. Yoo was jailed
for fraud for four years in the early 1990s.
Asked if Yoo had gone overseas, prosecutors said he was
still in South Korea but they had yet to contact him.
The financial watchdog and prosecutors are looking into the
assets of Yoo's family for any possible embezzlement,
(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Additional reporting by Meeyoung
Cho; Editing by Nick Macfie and Raju Gopalakrishnan)