Jan. 19 (UPI) -- South Korean prosecutors said they found no evidence the highest office in the nation attempted to obstruct investigations into the 2014 sinking of the Sewol ferry in 2014.
Im Kwan-hyuck, director of the special investigation team into the Sewol ferry disaster, said Tuesday that evidence is lacking about a previous administration's "external pressure" and interference in a probe, local news network YTN reported.
The dismissal of charges comes after the same team charged former President Park Geun-hye's officials with "abuse of power" in May, according to Yonhap.
The South Korean ferry sinking and allegations from victims' families about government misconduct have remained a controversial issue.
The accusations ultimately contributed to the 2017 impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye, who was blamed by rival politicians for not issuing a more timely response to the disaster that claimed more than 300 lives.
Park did not appear in public for seven hours on the day of the disaster, April 16, 2014, fueling suspicion among activists.
The high number of casualties -- mostly high school students on a field trip to Jeju Island -- outraged parents and activists who launched a years-long campaign in public squares in the country.
As the movement grew, protesters claimed the conviction of the Sewol's captain was not enough, and that Park should be held directly accountable for the deaths.
On Tuesday, Im dropped other allegations, including claims the military and spy agency under Park conducted illegal surveillance of victims' families.
Prosecutors also dismissed charges against maritime police, who were accused of failing to rescue a boy because they transported him by boat, and not by helicopter, according to Yonhap.
For years, protesters who made the Sewol ferry disaster a cause had called for a "recovery of the truth" about the incident, suggesting Park had been behind a preventable tragedy.
The disaster haunted Park in her final years and led to her downfall in 2017. Park remains in prison for an unrelated corruption scandal.