SEOUL, Aug. 8 -- The owner of a collapsed department store in Seoul has offered the entire wealth of his family to compensate the victims of the disaster, officials said Tuesday. The latest official casualty count in the June 29 collapse of the Sampoong Department Store listed 458 dead, including 32 bodies still not identified, 922 injured and 49 missing.
The officials said Lee Joon, 73, the store owner, and his son Lee Han-sang, have submitted a jointly signed memo to the city delegating the full power for disposal of their family wealth to the victims or their representatives. They stated they were delegating the rights to dispose of, manage or use all movable and immovable property, marketable securities and a school foundation belonging to themselves and their spouses, the officials said. Turning in the memo, Lee Joon said apologized to the victims, to city authorities, to government agencies involved in the disaster and to the public for causing the tragedy. 'I hope for speedy compensation, which I hope will help alleviate the pain of the bereaved families and other victims,' the officials quoted him as saying. Both Lee Joon and his son are under arrest, charged with negligence causing death. Seventeen other people are in custody accused of complicity in shoddy construction work or taking bribes from Sampoong in return for illegal favors.