South Korean special prosecutor Lee Hyun-joo said investigators found no evidence of foul play in connection to the 2014 sinking of the ferry Sewol. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE
Aug. 10 (UPI) -- South Korea said no tampering of evidence, including of surveillance camera footage, occurred relating to the 2014 sinking of the ferry Sewol as a 90-day investigation concluded Tuesday.
Special prosecutor Lee Hyun-joo said at a briefing that investigators examined CCTV data from the ferry, video storage devices and the record of the government's response at the time, YTN and SBS reported.
No foul play is suspected, and the Special Prosecutor's Office has "decided not to file an indictment, because there is no evidence to support the allegations" of a tampering, Lee said.
According to YTN, data was seized at 10 locations, including the offices of South Korea's Navy and Coast Guard. Prosecutors also summoned 78 witnesses for interrogation, the report said.
The digital evidence Seoul's investigators covered include 169 terabytes of data and 4,000 hours of voice communications between the Navy and Coast Guard.
South Korea's presidential archives also came under scrutiny. After the ferry sinking, former President Park Geun-hye was blamed for a failure of leadership. Park went missing on the day of the disaster, triggering rumors about the cause of her absence.
Seoul is closing the case after years of largely unsubstantiated speculation that senior authorities violated public trust by hiding key evidence after the ferry disaster.
More than 300 people died on the passenger ship on April 16, 2014, though the ship took almost an hour to capsize. The Sewol's captain was imprisoned after he gave the crew no order to evacuate the ship while he escaped from the vessel minutes before its sinking.
Local filmmakers and journalists, including the producers of a 2018 documentary about the disaster, have alleged that some of the CCTV footage on board disappeared, according to Asia Times.