Famed South Korean Photographer is Chief Suspect in Tragic Ferry Accident


On the 16th of April, 2014 the South Korean Ferry Sewol, which was carrying 476 people from Incheon towards Jeju at the time, capsized. Of the 476 passengers, most of them secondary school students from Danwon High School, only 172 survived, making this the worst ferry disaster in South Korea since December 14th of 1970.

All of this you probably know from international news coverage of the tragedy a couple of months ago. So, why are we talking about a ferry disaster on a photography website? Because it turns out one of the chief suspects the government wants to bring to justice in regards to the disaster is famed South Korean photographer Ahae.

Japanese-born South Korean religious leader, businessman and inventor Yoo Byung-eun — best known, perhaps, as a photographer who goes by the pseudonym Ahae — is currently on the run from the law with a reward of nearly $500K being offered for any info that leads to his arrest.

Ahae has his name engraved on the walls of The Louvre as a patron.

Ahae has his name engraved on the walls of the Louvre as a patron.

Known in South Korea as “the billionaire with no face,” Ahae’s work has appeared on PetaPixel and many other photography publications, as well as in storied museums such as the Louvre in Paris. And it seems his photography may have been in part to blame for the sinking of the ship.

He is identified by the authorities as “the de facto owner” of the sunken Ferry, with reports indicating that the Sewol had been remodeled (and structurally weakened) at Yoo’s direction in order to expand the fifth floor exhibition hall in which Ahae’s photographs were displayed.

He was allegedly notified in January of this year that there were serious stability problems with the vessel due to the remodel, and was advised to sell the ferry. Yoo, however, told the company to continue running the ferry as usual, putting it up for sale two months later in March.


Yoo is currently charged with embezzlement, breach of trust and tax evasion, and the prosecution is supposedly preparing to cite “negligent homicide” as well… if, that is, they can find him.

A 50,000-officer man hunt is under way for Yoo, but his whereabouts are unknown, and members of his religious group have been actively helping him to avoid authorities. The picture of the wanted poster above was taken on June 21st, and at the time of this writing the photographer known as Ahae is still at large.


Image credits: The ferry Sewol sinking by the Korean Coast Guard, Le nom d’Ahae gravé au Louvre by, and Wanted Poster by Sam Sailor

  • Henry Wang


  • Eden Wong

    The arrest warrant was issued back in May.

  • Arnel Dela Gente


  • Lkm Rbgtz

    500k USD or Korean Won?

  • RMJ

    500,000,000 Korean Won, which is about 500,000 USD.

  • Lambert Schlumpf

    DL Cade, typo: it’s “The Louvre, not “The Lovre” in the picture’s caption. ;)

  • Birear

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    explained I cannot believe that a stay at home mom can make $7420 in four weeks
    on the internet . more info here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • Guest

    you’re not welcome here sorry

  • Toby Hawkins

    The South Korean government’s been trying to blame anything with a pulse for the sinking since it happened, I’d give a lot more credence to this if it wasn’t such a witch hunt.

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  • Kurtis Michaels

    I don’t understand why they do not pull the ferry up first. Pull the freeking boat up!!!!

  • Sandra League

    before I saw the
    bank draft four $8596 , I did not believe that…my… brother was like
    trully bringing home money part-time at their laptop. . there neighbor has
    been doing this for only twenty months and by now cleard the debts on their
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  • gregorymbehrens

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  • Richard

    Wow, that’s quite a scoop. I had no idea about this guy. Thanks.

  • byteme007

    He’s probably in the USA some where..
    The REAL question is what about the ship inspectors that cleared this piece of junk to continue operation AFTER the remodel and since then??
    Who got bribed and go up the chain after everybody involved……

  • Darcy Wheeler


  • Eden Wong

    Well, he’s dead now…