The man whose company was in charge of the botched demolition of a five-story building in Gwangju, which suddenly collapsed on June 9 and killed nine and seriously injured eight, has fled the country just as he was about to face questioning, police have confirmed.
According to the Gwangju Metropolitan Police Agency on June 16, the owner, Moon Heung-sik, departed the country Sunday, the day before police began preparing to request a travel ban from the Justice Ministry.
Police on Monday booked Moon without detention on suspicion of illegal activities in the tender selection process for the demolition contract and interfering in subcontracting for the project.
Police said that they had reason to believe that Moon had engaged in corrupt practices during the tender selection and booked him on Monday, along with seven others involved in the redevelopment project, for professional malpractice and bribery. Seven more people have already been booked for professional negligence resulting in death.
Police are also investigating rumors that Moon previously belonged to a criminal organization before becoming involved in real estate redevelopment in Hak-dong of Dong District, Gwangju, where the building under demolition collapsed. Moon is also suspected of unlawfully interfering in the redevelopment bidding process.