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Police finish questioning South Korean tycoon over alleged beating incident

Police finish questioning South Korean tycoon over alleged beating incident

Police finished questioning one of South Korea's richest men Monday over his alleged involvement in an apparent revenge attack and were reportedly seeking a warrant for his arrest.
Kim Seung-youn, head of conglomerate Hanwha Group, left a Seoul police station early Monday, company spokesman Ju Cheol-beom said, wrapping up some 11 hours of grilling that began with his nationally televised arrival at the station Sunday afternoon.
South Korean media, including Yonhap news agency, reported Monday that police wanted to arrest Kim. A spokesman for the National Police Agency, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with policy, called the reports speculative.
Police questioned Kim, 55, over allegations that he ordered and participated last month in the abduction and beatings of bar workers allegedly involved in a scuffle with Kim's 22-year-old son, who is a student at Yale University in the U.S.
According to media reports, Kim's bodyguards took the workers to a mountainous area south of Seoul, where Kim himself allegedly assaulted them. Kim and his son, Kim Dong-won, later sought out and beat another alleged assailant of the son at a bar in central Seoul, according to the reports.
Hanwha's Ju said Kim denied the allegations under questioning. Upon arrival at the police station Sunday, Kim told reporters that he apologized for "causing trouble over a personal issue."
The allegations surfaced late last week as the alleged victims began to speak out.
The sensational details of the case, which local media have likened to something out of a gangster movie, have drawn intense interest in South Korea, where the heads of family controlled conglomerates like Hanwha wield tremendous economic, political and social clout.
Hanwha was established in 1952 as the Korea Explosives Corp. It later developed interests in petrochemicals, finance, insurance, construction and retail. It also owns the Hanwha Eagles professional baseball team.
Kim, South Korea's 10th-richest man, is worth about US$850 million (euro623 million), according to Chaebul.com, a Web site that tracks the fortunes of the conglomerate chiefs and their families.
Police have been generally tightlipped, confirming only that the elder Kim was prohibited from leaving the country. His son has left South Korea for China, but was due back later Monday, according to Ju, the Hanwha spokesman.
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Associated Press Writer Jae-Soon Chang contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-08-02 04:57 GMT+08:00