Sun, May 13, 2007 - Page 5 News List

S Korean tycoon jailed for revenge abduction, beating


A South Korean tycoon accused of a gangland-style revenge attack after his son was assaulted was thrown into a police jail yesterday after a court issued a warrant for his arrest.

Kim Seung-Youn is alleged to have abducted and beaten bar employees with the help of organized crime bosses after his 22-year-old son was injured in a scuffle.

It marks the first time in South Korea's history that the head of a business conglomerate has been arrested on charges of violence, although several tycoons have been jailed in the past for corruption.

Kim, 55, is chairman of Hanwha Group, South Korea's 10th largest trading company, with interests in explosives, construction, engineering and finance.

"We believe sufficient criminal evidence has been presented," Judge Lee Kwang-Man said at the Seoul district court.

"There is a concern over possible destruction of evidence."

An arrest warrant was also issued for Kim's security director, who allegedly aided in the abduction and assaults. Police are now investigating 15 crime ring members who are suspected of involvement.

"Looking at the investigation records, we can tell the accused has been trying to destroy evidence by influencing collaborators and witnesses," Lee said.

Police later transferred the tycoon to a police station in Seoul where he will be held for up to 10 days for questioning.

"I feel overwhelmingly regretful over myself for not chiding my own child before pouring anger over someone else," Kim said in a statement released through his company.

Kim, whose personal fortune is estimated at 800 million dollars, had denied personal involvement in the attack.

"I am greatly reproaching myself for not behaving according to proper legal procedures from the beginning of the incident," he said.

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