TONGANS CHARGED WITH LOOTING ANCIENT SHIPWRECK

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Gold coins confiscated from divers

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 8, 2010) – A group of divers in Tonga is facing charges after allegedly removing items from a ship which sank more than a 150 years ago.

Police confiscated what are believed to be gold pieces from the Nuku’alofa homes of the divers.

Mateni Tapueluelu says the divers, all Tongans, had allegedly been removing the materials from the ship, which sank in 1853, for quite some time before police became aware of their activity.

"It is yet to be tested officially but these men have been charged and are due to appear in the Magistrates’ Court on Thursday. They have been charged with illegally removing materials that belong to Government from the oceans [around] Tonga."

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