S Korea to return one of two stolen statues to Japan

2015-07-15 13:10

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - South Korea has decided to return one of two ancient Buddha statues that were stolen by Korean thieves in Japan three years ago, the prosecutor general's office said Wednesday.

Although Japan had demanded the return of both Korean-made statues, the prosecutor said the second likeness would remain in South Korea pending the resolution of a dispute over its original ownership.

The argument over the fate of the statues, which were stolen from different shrines on the Japanese island of Tsushima in 2012, is a reflection of the troubled nature of Japan and South Korea's historic ties.

Four people were arrested in South Korea in 2013 over the original theft, after they tried to sell the statues which were then confiscated by the authorities.

Japan requested the statues' swift return, but a South Korean District Court blocked their repatriation on suspicion that they might have been stolen from Korea centuries ago by Japanese pirates.

Legal dispute

In its decision on Wednesday, the prosecutor's office said there was no evidence that the one eighth-century statue had ever been illegally transferred to Japan, and underlined that no claims for its ownership had been made in South Korea.

"In accordance with the Criminal Procedure Law, the statue will be returned to the original owner in Japan", the office said in a press statement.

The other 14th century statue, however, is claimed by a Buddhist temple in the south-western city of Seosan, which says it was dedicated to the temple in 1330 but then plundered by Japanese pirates sometime before 1520.

"There is an ongoing legal dispute over its ownership and therefore, no decision has been made as to whether to return it", the prosecutor said.

The fact that even one of the statues will be returned prompted a storm of criticism on some Korean social media networks, where the decision was pilloried as a "betrayal" and "pro-Japanese".

Read more on:    south korea  |  japan

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.