7 foreigners caught attempting to smuggle Korean cultural property abroad
SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) – Eleven people, including seven foreign nationals, were arrested as they attempted to smuggle nearly 100 pieces of ancient Korean cultural property out of the country, police said on Tuesday.
Daejeon Metropolitan Police Agency in the city center said it booked the 11 trafficking suspects in cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) and returned them without detention to the procuratorate for charge.
The foreign suspects detained are three from Japan, including a Korean-Japanese, two from China and one from Vietnam and one from Germany, police said, noting that their occupations are diverse, such as cultural property brokers, a Korean teacher in Japan and a researcher.
The foreign suspects, who came to South Korea for sightseeing and other purposes, purchased at least 92 pieces of cultural artifacts, including celadon porcelain, ancient books and ancient silver coins, in Seoul’s Insa-dong district from December 2013 until recently and attempted to smuggle. treasures abroad by hiding them in suitcases, he said.
They packed old books and ceramics in newspapers or wooden boxes to go through airport security, police said, adding that some items had already been sent overseas by a courier. international.
Police seized 92 cultural objects from the 11 suspects and will send them to CHA.
The seized cultural property includes ceramics from the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392), which have artistic and academic value high enough to be classified as national treasures, according to experts.
“Most of the artifacts seized, including those from the Goryeo dynasty, retain their original form. An ink box from the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) is considered rare due to its well-preserved wood grain,” said a CHA official
Police said the suspects said they did not know their behavior would become a problem. But police say they have confirmed his criminal intentions.
“It turned out that the suspects knew the value of the cultural property concerned and tried to resell it at a higher price in their country of origin,” said a police officer.