A Bergen County art collector has been arrested on stolen property charges for allegedly purchasing a precious Korean artifact that may have been stolen from the country during the Korean War, NJ.com reported Tuesday.
Won Young Youn, who authorities believe has been living in Fort Lee, was scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Michigan today after being taken into custody earlier this month, the report said.
According to NJ.com, in 2010, Youn convinced a Queens woman, Joo Park, to purchase the artifact — a Hojo 10-nyang currency plate that dates back to the Korean Joseon Dynasty of the late 19th century — from a Michigan auction business for $35,000, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
According to the complaint, the plate, considered a "national heritage item with significant academic and historical value" was put up for auction by a relative of Lionel Hayes, a deceased veteran who served in the Marines during the Korean War. The auction owner was contacted by the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C., soon after the plate was sold. The Embassy was concerned that the item may have brought into the country illegally.
The article explained that the plate was brought to a professor at Lagrangecharg College in Georgia for analysis. The professor discovered a YouTube video, narrated in Korean, that appeared to be Youn holding the plate.