SEOUL, South Korea — A total of 17 people, including a veteran carpenter, have been arrested on various corruption charges. This was in relation to their participation in the restoration of one of Seoul’s ancient city gates, police said today.
Shin Eung-soo, the 71-year-old carpenter who took charge of the carpentry work for the project, is under suspicion of siphoning off timbers, that were supposed to be used to replace burned columns in the wooden gate, police said. Those timbers include Korea-grown pine timbers called geumgang.
Sungnyemun reopened in May 2013 after undergoing years of repairs due to an arson attack by a disgruntled elderly man in February 2008. Sungnyemun is one of the four gates that surrounded the capital city during the Joseon Dynasty,
However, allegations emerged that the gate had been poorly restored, with cracks in some of its pillars, mismatched parts and damaged paintwork, prompting a police investigation into the project.
The National Police Agency (NPA) said that Shin allegedly siphoned off nearly 160 sets of timbers for personal use or for other restoration projects. The timbers worth 102 million won (US $95,000).
Source: Busan eFM News