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South Korea Ferry Watchdog Raided in Corruption Probe

Prosecutors say they raided South Korea's shipping safety watchdog as part of a wider investigation into the sinking of the Sewol ferry.

South Korean prosecutors said on Thursday that they had raided the shipping safety watchdog as part of their expanded investigation following the fatal sinking of the Sewol ferry.

The ship sank last week and more than 300 people, most of whom are students and teachers from the same school, have drowned or are missing presumed dead.

"The objective was to investigate malpractices and corruption in the entire shipping industry," Song In-taek, head deputy chief prosecutor at Incheon District Prosecution Service, told reporters.

A lawmaker claimed Wednesday that the ship was overloaded with more than three times its recommended weight of cargo, and prosecutors are investigating whether the ship's operator, Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd., bribed government inspectors to give the vessel a clean safety certificate.

The raid of the watchdog took place on Wednesday when prosecutors also raided the home of Yoo Byung-un, the head of a family that owns the Chonghaejin Marine Co.

Financial watchdog and prosecutors are looking into the assets of Yoo's family for any possible embezzlement, prosecutors added.

- Reuters