- The question of who actually owned the ferry was itself a complicated one, and prosecutors eventually targeted Yoo Byung-eun, a 73-year-old billionaire and a founder of the controversial Evangelical Baptist Church.
- In the 1980s, 32 members of an offshoot of the Evangelical Baptist Church committed mass suicide, and the investigation ultimately led to Yoo’s conviction for fraud. He spent four years in prison.
- Rather than turn himself in over the Sewol case, Yoo became a fugitive. When the police raided an Evangelical Baptist Church compound to look for information on his whereabouts, literally thousands of officers were involved.
- Yoo’s church owns the website God.com.
Imagine if Bernard Madoff founded the Branch Davidians and became a fugitive like O.J. Simpson after perpetrating the Challenger disaster, and you have something like an American analogy for what was going on in South Korea.
And that’s where we were until news broke Monday that police had found Yoo’s body. The emerging details have only made the situation stranger.
- Yoo’s body was actually found on June 12, decomposing, but was not immediately identified. The individual who discovered it thought he had found a deceased homeless person.
- Yoo had reportedly been hiding behind the wall of a nearby cabin when police searched it on May 25.
- The body was found in an apricot orchard (or, per some reports, a plum orchard).
- Beside the body, according to reports: several bottles of alcohol, a shark-liver-oil product, and an extra shirt.
- And a book called Greater Love Has No One Than This, apparently a reference to a Gospel verse about sacrificing one’s life, that Yoo wrote in prison. (Or maybe it was called Dreamlike Love.)
- And a magnifying glass.