“It is not true that the Sewol’s captain is unrelated to the Salvation Sect.”
“In Ansan now, when people pass by any traditional church, they say, ‘The Ferry Sewol accident is all due to churchgoers.’ This is a time when the Korean church should not remain silent. The Salvation Sect people are rallying against the news broadcasts. Look, the Sewol tragedy is much worse than the Five Oceans (Odaeyang) mass suicide-murder case back in 1987. Shouldn’t the Korean churches demonstrate in front of the Yu Byeong-eon Salvation Sect churches to accuse the murderer?”
Thus Kim A (56·photo) rebuked the Salvation Sect in an angry voice during his interview with Kukmin Daily near the common memorial altar in Hwarang Recreation Area, Ansan, on April 30. After 32 years as an active member of the Yu Byeong-eon Salvation Sect (“Evangelical Baptist Church”) starting from his entry in 1976, he withdrew from the sect in 2008.
Kim was one of the captains belonging to the Semo Group, and from 1992 was in command of the Han River ferry. In 1997, he also started work with the new project team of Chonghaejin Marine Co. He confirmed that de facto owner Yu Byeong-eon (73) of Chonghaejin was behind the accident.
“Yu is the final decision maker at all the businesses run by the Salvation Sect. He even makes the decisions about garbage and trash disposal. As revealed by the investigation of the Prosecutor’s Office, first sailor Kang X was only talking on the phone, not responding to the situation, when the Sewol began to sink. I suspect that someone above ordered, ‘Stand a bit longer, wait and see,’ so as not to aggravate the situation. Of course Yu must have used a cell phone owned by someone else.”
Kim pointed out that the accident was also caused by the inflexible organizational culture of the company, which is overshadowed by the Salvation Sect. Kim said, “In all the marine corporations run by the Salvation Sect, the office workers have absolute power over the ship workers. The office workers act as if they are the company owners, and treat the sailors like their slaves. When something happens, therefore, the decision of the office takes priority over the situation in the field.” He added, “The company posts crucial members of the Salvation Sect among the ship workers, so that the sailors do not trust each other. It is very likely that they were controlling the ship through members of the sect.”
He also commented, “When I worked there, it was said among the workers, ‘Even in an accident, the ship will not sink entirely due to its great height. Accordingly, inside is safer.’ This wrong belief proves that they were totally ignorant about safety. I think the nonsensical announcement they made several times when the ferry was sinking (‘It is safer to remain inside the ship’) stemmed from this background.”
Additionally, Kim argued against the claim that the Sewol Captain Lee Jun-seok is unrelated to the Salvation Sect. He said, “In the past, I heard from someone I know that Captain Lee attended gatherings of the Salvation Sect several times and that he goes there because his wife is a fervent believer. They bring you in by making it an obligation to attend their gatherings if you’re not a believer. You can say that 7 or 8 out of every 10 workers of Chonghaejin Marine Co. are believers of the Salvation Sect.”
He also worries that the Sewol disaster will bring together the scattered 20,000 some Salvation Sect believers. No matter how much they are attacked by the newspapers and broadcast media, they live in a different mental world, so they will feel that they are being oppressed by outsiders. Smiling bitterly, Kim said, “Even at this moment, they must be brainwashing the believers completely via their internal broadcasting station, called ‘International Motion Pictures.”
Then he commented, “The reason why the Salvation Sect is a ‘ticking time bomb’ is that God is nowhere for them, while they serve Yu as an absolute idol comparable to Paul the Apostle. And the Salvation Sect is a nasty group. They take out large sums of loans using the personal accounts of the believers. The believers can’t help but stay, because otherwise they would have to pay the interest.” Kim urged, “Yu is always behind the scenes, so the Prosecutor's Office must do a thorough investigation.”
Reporter Paek Sang-hyun (email@example.com), with Yeara Ahn-Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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