Source AP ©

Businessman is accused of revenge beating

A Seoul court issued an arrest warrant for a business tycoon blamed for taking part in a sensational revenge attack after his son was hurt in a karaoke bar fight.

Hanwha Group Chairman and CEO Kim Seung-youn is suspected of kicking, punching and using a steel pipe to attack bar workers allegedly involved in a scuffle with his 22-year-old son on March 8 at a karaoke pub.

After questioning Kim at a hearing earlier Friday, the Seoul District Court accepted a prosecution request made on Thursday to issue an arrest warrant for him, Yonhap news agency reported.

"The crimes have been confirmed to a certain extent and there are concerns that he may try to destroy evidence," Judge Lee Kwang-man was quoted as saying in explaining why the court decided to arrest Kim.

YTN news channel carried a similar report.

Court officials were unable to be reached for confirmation.

Kim faces an immediate arrest and will be held at the Namdaemun Police Station in central Seoul.

Earlier Friday, Kim said he regrets he "failed to control impulsive emotion" and apologized for causing trouble.

"I hope there will never be a silly father like me again," Kim told reporters after the court hearing.

The dramatic details of the case, which media have likened to a gangster movie, has drawn intense public interest in South Korea, where the heads of family controlled conglomerates wield great economic, political and social clout.

The younger Kim, a student at Yale University, reportedly suffered an injury that required 11 stitches in the scuffle on stairs outside the karaoke pub.

Victims have told police the elder Kim and his bodyguards took them to a mountainous area south of Seoul, where Kim himself allegedly assaulted them, including hitting one of them on the back with a 5-foot (1.5 meter) steel pipe.

They have also told police Kim later sought out another man at a bar in central Seoul and had his son beat him, according to a police statement.

Hanwha was established in 1952 as the Korea Explosives Corp. It later developed interests in petrochemicals, finance, insurance, construction and retail. It also owns the Hanwha Eagles professional baseball team.

Kim, South Korea's ninth-richest man, is worth about 900 billion won (US$971 million; 720 million EUR), according to Chaebul.com, a Web site that tracks the fortunes of the conglomerate chiefs and their families based on current stock prices.