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South Korea's Park says family 'root cause' of ferry tragedy

SEOUL--South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday denounced fugitive members of the ship-owning family linked to last month's ferry disaster, calling them the “root cause” of the tragedy that claimed around 300 lives.

The government has offered a half-million dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of Yoo Byung-eun, patriarch of the family behind Chonghaejin Marine Co.

Chonghaejin owned and operated the 6,825-tonne Sewol ferry that capsized and sank on April 16 with hundreds of high school students on board.

Yoo and his eldest son have become the targets of a massive manhunt after they ignored prosecutors' summons to surrender themselves for questioning.

Initial investigations suggest that lax safety standards and negligent business practices may have been a major contributor to the disaster.

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