Wed, Jun 04, 2014 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

SOUTH KOREA

‘Sewol’ owner seeks asylum

A businessman and Christian sect leader wanted on charges tied to a ferry disaster in which more than 300 passengers drowned sought asylum at an embassy in Seoul, but was rejected, prosecutors said yesterday. Yoo Byung-un, 73, is wanted on charges of embezzlement, negligence and tax evasion stemming from his control of a web of business interests centered on an investment firm owned by his sons that owned the operator of the doomed Sewol that sank on April 16. “By international law, Yoo Byung-un is not a refugee, but is a fugitive with an arrest warrant outstanding, so anyone who helps him flee will be deemed to be aiding his escape and will be firmly punished,” a prosecutor said. A person acting for Yoo contacted an embassy and asked about the possibility of Yoo seeking asylum, he said. He was turned down. Prosecutors did not say which embassy was contacted.

JAPAN

PM may visit North Korea

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may visit North Korea, the government said yesterday, days after announcing a deal to reopen its probe into Japanese citizens kidnapped by spies in the Cold War. Any such visit would be controversial, especially in Seoul and Washington, which have led the charge to further isolate Pyongyang over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Tokyo and Pyongyang have no formal diplomatic ties, partially because of what Japan says is the North’s unwillingness to come clean over the abductions in the 1970s and 1980s. However, in a breakthrough last week, they said an investigation into the fate of missing Japanese would be reopened. In exchange, Tokyo would ease some of the unilateral sanctions it has imposed on the isolated state.

SOUTH KOREA

North fisherman returned

The country yesterday repatriated a North Korean fisherman, but rejected Pyongyang’s demands to return two others picked up by the coast guard at the weekend. Seoul’s Ministry of Unification said the repatriation took place at the border truce village of Panmunjom. The fishermen were picked up on Saturday by a coast guard vessel off the east coast, and the North quickly demanded the immediate return of all three, as well as their boat. However, Seoul said two of the fishermen had expressed a wish to stay in the South and would be kept in custody for questioning. A ministry spokesman said there was “no word or protest” from North Korea when the third fisherman was handed over at the border.

MALAYSIA

Army to search for UK tourist

Authorities insisted on Monday they are committed to finding a Briton who went missing on a popular resort island six days ago, with an army helicopter sent to aid the search. Gareth Huntley, 34, went missing after a waterfall trek on Tuesday last week in the jungles of Tioman Island off Malaysia’s east coast. A search has yet to find any trace of him, police said. “We have no leads. About 90 men are looking for him, as well as search dogs. One helicopter from the army is about to arrive,” said district police chief Johari Jahaya, who is leading the search. Huntley had been a volunteer at the Juara Turtle Project, a conservation and research group. His mother, Janet Southwell, told BBC Radio on Monday she was “positive that with all this effort we are going to find him.” “It’s a roller coaster of emotions. You know, it’s despair one minute and hope the next and back again. He may be injured, but we are going to find him and we will bring him out alive,” she said from Malaysia.

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