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Real-life Charlie’s Angel?

July 29, 2014
Park Soo-kyung

Park Soo-kyung, middle, a certified international taekwondo judge was arrested with Yoo Dae-gyun Friday. (Yonhap)

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Yoo Dae-gyun, left, and Park Soo-kyung. (Yonhap)

By Lee Hyo-sik

The picture just does not fit: a big bulky man under the protection of a slender female bodyguard.

Yoo Dae-gyun, 44, the eldest son of the deceased Yoo Byung-eun, once the nation’s most wanted man, was arrested Friday with Park Soo-kyung, 34, a certified international taekwondo judge, at an apartment in Yongin, south of Seoul, where the two were believed to have been holed up together for more than two months.

Park is said to be a holder of a sixth-degree black belt in taekwondo.

Prosecutors sought a detention warrant for Dae-gyun, Sunday, on charges of embezzling billions of won from his father’s companies. He is suspected of stealing 5.6 billion won ($5.4 million) from subsidiaries of Semo Group, owned by his late father. Park is charged with aiding the fugitive.

According to the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office, the two had known each other for years. Park allegedly first met the junior Yoo in college.

Park’s mother, Shin Myung-hee, was a close aide to Yoo, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol.

Park’s strong loyalty to the Salvation Sect, the cult led by the senior Yoo, is seen to be a link between the two.

She served as a judge in the taekwondo world championships in Mexico last year, and is said to be fluent in English. Taekwondo officials were quoted as saying that they didn’t know Park belonged to the cult, with some showing surprise at the calmness she exhibited when she was taken into custody. “The woman I knew was fragile,” one said.

Some observers speculate they are lovers.

Footage from the surveillance cameras, shown by cable channel YTN, pictured the two showing no fear when they were surrounded by investigators at the time of their arrest.

Neither of them put up any resistance and apparently responded to investigators’ questions.

Dae-gyun was separated from Park, who was escorted by a plainclothes policewoman, by a few meters,.

Investigators suspect that Dae-gyun was actively involved in the management of Cheonghaejin Marine, which operated the ferry, and other group affiliates.

If he is found to have been involved in Semo Group management, he could be held accountable for the April 16 sinking of the Sewol, which left more than 300 people dead or missing.

The prosecution had been seeking Yoo and his family members over a host of alleged wrongdoings believed to have contributed to the ferry disaster.

They are suspected of stealing combined 200 billion won from Semo Group affiliates, leading to their poor financial health. Prosecutors believe this contributed to the inappropriate management of Cheonghaejin Marine.

Yoo’s second son, Hyuk-ki, who had been touted as a successor to his father’s once flourishing empire, is wanted on corruption charges but is believed to be hiding in the United States.

 Yoo’s eldest daughter, Seom-na, 48, also known as Ennette Yoo, has been detained in France since May 27, awaiting an extradition hearing to be held in September.

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