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Police search home of South Korean tycoon at center of revenge violence allegations

Police search home of South Korean tycoon at center of revenge violence allegations

Police on Tuesday searched the home of a South Korean business tycoon accused of taking part in a sensational revenge attack on bar workers after his son was hurt in a fight at a karaoke pub.
Police officers, some carrying blue cardboard boxes, entered the walled hillside Seoul home of Hanwha Group Chairman and CEO Kim Seung-youn in footage shown on cable news channel YTN.
Kim, one of South Korea's richest people, has denied allegations that he kicked, punched and used a steel pipe to attack the bar workers on March 8, though has apologized for "causing trouble."
The sensational nature of the case, which local media have likened to something out of a gangster movie, has drawn intense interest in South Korea, where the heads of family controlled conglomerates wield great economic, political and social clout.
Kim has been forbidden to leave the country by police, who say further investigation is needed before any decision on a possible arrest is made.
Police official Kang Dae-won told reporters Tuesday outside Kim's home that investigators would check the footage of the closed-circuit TV system at the residence as well as global tracking devices on his cars to track their movements on the day of the incident.
Victims told police that the elder Kim and his bodyguards took them to a mountainous area south of Seoul, where Kim himself allegedly assaulted them, including hitting one on the back with a 1.5-meter (5-foot) steel pipe.
The spark for the incident was an alleged altercation between Kim's son, Kim Dong-won, and the off duty bar workers at a karaoke pub in southern Seoul that left the younger Kim, a student at Yale University in the United States, with an injury to an eye that required 11 stitches.
The younger Kim returned to South Korea on Monday from China, where he had reportedly been on a study-related trip. Like his father, he made a point of apologizing for the scandal, but denied any wrongdoing
"I feel very ashamed for causing trouble for my father," he said Monday at the airport. "I am very sorry for causing trouble to the public."
Asked by a reporter, however, if he had anything to say to the alleged victims, the younger Kim replied: "I am the victim."
Hanwha, South Korea's ninth-largest conglomerate, began 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.
The elder Kim is ranked as South Korea's 10th-richest man, according to Chaebul.com, a Web site that tracks the fortunes of the conglomerate chiefs and their families.
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Associated Press Writer Bo-Mi Lim contributed to this report.


Updated : 2020-12-06 10:15 GMT+08:00