Sewol ferry firm head imprisoned for 10 years

Sewol ferry firm head imprisoned for 10 years

The head of the operator of the South Korean Sewol ferry that sank in April killing more than 300 people has been sentenced to 10 years in jail.

The Gwangju district convicted Kim Han-sik, president of Chonghaejin Marine, of criminal negligence.

Investigators found the ferry had been overloaded with cargo which contributed to its sinking.

Last week, the court sentenced 15 crew members to between five and 36 years in prison.

Those that died in the accident were mostly teenagers on a school trip, sparking outrage across the country.

Only 172 people escaped out of a total of 476 passengers and crew on board the Sewol.

The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Seoul said some have argued that the owner and executives of the company were at least equally to blame.

The ferry had been altered to take more cargo, and that higher centre-of-gravity made the vessel more likely to topple over, he adds.

Last month, Kim apologised to the families but said he was simply a paid employee of the company and the decision that led to the disaster were made by the owner Yoo Byung-un, local media reported.

Mr Yoo was found dead in June.

The court sentenced other executives of the firm to three to six years in prison for negligence and embezzlement.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30125633

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