A man in his 60s has been arrested on suspicion of possessing ancient pottery that is believed to have been taken illegally from an underwater resting place off the southwestern coast of South Korea, police said Thursday.
The 63-year-old suspect, whose name was withheld, is accused of having hidden ancient Chinese celadon and other treasures retrieved in the 1980s from the Sinan underwater relics burial site in waters off South Jeolla Province in violation of the Act on Protection and Inspection of Buried Cultural Heritage, police said.
The man is also suspected of having attempted to smuggle some of the treasures into Japan for sale, according to the Daejeon Metropolitan Police Agency.
Police detained the suspect March 20 and seized 57 ceramic objects from his home in Seoul and other places.
The police and the Cultural Heritage Administration launched a joint investigation last February after obtaining intelligence indicating that the suspect was trying to sell stolen treasures in Japan.