Posted : 2014-05-21 18:28
Updated : 2014-05-25 19:16

Yoo family gets away

A police bus enters the compound of Geumsuwon, the stronghold of the Salvation Sect, in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday. Police and prosecutors were searching for Yoo Byung-eun, the de factor
owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, and his eldest son, but they were not found on the premises. / Yonhap

Police move into Geumsuwon; cult followers make no resistance

By Kim Da-ye

Prosecutors moved into Geumsuwon, the stronghold of the Salvation Sect, Wednesday, to arrest Yoo Byung-eun but he was nowhere to be found.

There were no clashes with the hundreds of his followers present.

Rumors circulated that Yoo, the de-facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, and his eldest son had already escaped before the search.

The sect members peacefully allowed prosecutors and investigators to move in after the prosecution accepted their demand for clarification that there were no links between the sect and a mass suicide in 1987, known as the "Odaeyang incident."

Some 80 prosecutors and investigators from the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office made their way into Geumsuwon in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, around noon following a court approving the search for Yoo and issuing a warrant to detain his eldest son, Dae-gyun.

The entry appeared highly coordinated between the prosecution and the Salvation Sect. Around 11 a.m., the sect's spokesman announced to the media that members would let the prosecution into the compound. Thirty minutes later, riot police were deployed in front of the gate. By noon, the prosecutors entered the facility in seven vehicles.

As the vehicles passed through the entrance, the devotees stood on the sides of the road and sang hymns.

The search and seizure lasted eight hours as prosecutors and their investigators went through the compound, which the sect claims to be 760,330 square meters in area. However, they failed to get any tangible results.

The prosecution's entry onto the premises left a few questions unanswered.

It said Tuesday that they assumed Yoo had left the compound over the weekend and was likely staying in a devotee's home in Seoul.

Although prosecutors would be able to seize evidence against him and his family there with a search and seizure warrant, observers questioned why they did so.

Prosecutors also accessed Geumsuwon without an arrest warrant for Yoo. They only had a warrant that allowed them to bring him to court for a hearing to review a possible arrest warrant. The prosecution could have sought a warrant to take him into custody, but did not.

Observers also doubt the motives behind the Salvation Sect's opening of the gate.

Lee Tae-jong, a spokesman for the sect, said in a statement, "The prosecution told us officially today that Yoo Byung-eun and the Evangelical Baptist Church had nothing to do with the Odaeyang incident. This is the first step in us clearing ourselves of a false charge.

"We believe that the prosecution showed a bit of common courtesy toward us. So we will stop the struggle we have continued, despite the misunderstanding that we are a human shield for Yoo Byung-eun."

관련 한글 기사

檢 "유병언 부자 발견 보고 아직 없어"

'신도들 수사협조 기대'…유씨 머물렀던 '비밀별장' CCTV 확보

'세월호 실소유주 비리'를 수사 중인 인천지검 특별수사팀(팀장 김회종 2차장검사)은 21일 경기도 안성 소재 금수원에 대한 압수수색을 진행 중이다.

검찰은 소환 조사와 구속 전 피의자심문(영장실질심사)에 잇따라 불출석한 유병언(73) 전 세모그룹 회장(청해진해운 회장)과 장남 대균(44)씨의 신병 확보 차원에서 이날 정오께 금수원에 진입했다.

검찰 관계자는 '유씨가 최근 금수원에서 빠져나간 것으로 보이지만 얼마 전까지 머문 만큼 도피 여부를 명백히 할 필요가 있다고 판단했다'면서 '추적에 필요한 단서와 자료를 확보하기 위한 점도 고려됐다'고 설명했다.

검찰은 유씨의 구인영장과 대균씨의 체포영장에 더해 법원으로부터 금수원 압수수색 영장까지 발부받아 집행에 들어갔다.

검찰 관계자는 '금수원 측의 적극적인 협조 하에 원활하게 수색이 진행되고 있지만 유씨 부자를 발견했다는 보고는 아직 없다'고 전했다.

검찰은 유씨가 한때 머물렀던 '비밀별장'으로 알려진 금수원 인근 호미영농조합의 폐쇄회로(CC)TV 저장장치도 확보한 것으로 알려졌다.

이날 금수원 수색에는 인천지검 정순신 특수부장과 주영환 외사부장의 지휘 아래 검찰 수사관 70여명이 동원됐다.

금수원 외곽에는 경찰 500여명이 배치돼 도주자를 차단하고 있다. 만일의 사태에 대비해 인근에 경찰 700여명이 대기하고 있다.

검찰은 기독교복음침례회(일명 구원파) 측에서 농성을 풀고 수색에 협조한 것에 대해 '종교 영역은 전혀 수사와 무관하다고 말씀드렸다'면서 '신도들이 오대양 사건과 구원파가 무관하다는 주장을 거론했고 관련 사건 기록을 검토한 결과 집단 자살이 구원파와 관계가 있다거나 5공 정권의 비호가 있었다는 사실이 확인되지 않았다고 얘기했다'고 설명했다.

검찰은 '신도들이 이번 압수수색을 기점으로 수사에 협조하기를 기대한다'고 밝혔다.

신도들과의 충돌을 우려해 금수원 진입 시점을 미루면서 유씨를 놓친 것 아니냐는 지적에는 '유씨 검거도 중요하지만 불상사를 방지하는 것도 중요하다고 생각했다'고 설명했다

검찰은 유씨 부자가 이미 서울 등 다른 곳으로 빠져나갔을 가능성이 큰 만큼 검찰과 경찰 검거팀 인력을 확대해 뒤를 쫓고 있다. (연합뉴스)

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