(ATTN: ADDS more details in para 6)
SEOUL, July 5 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean man has been under investigation on charges of stealing a device used in military explosives while serving in the Army and maintaining ties to suspected members of the Islamic State (IS) militant group, defense ministry officials said Friday.
The 23-year-old man, identified only by his surname Park, allegedly stole at least one spark plug for explosives in October 2017 when he was receiving training at an Army engineering unit as an explosive specialist, according to the officials.
Investigators also found a video clip on his cellphone on how to make homemade ammunition and seized a machete at his residence, which looks similar to broad blade knives that have been used by terrorists.
The suspect had also collected video clips related to IS and other materials and posted them online, the officials said, adding that he also received emails from suspected members of the militant group.
"The man is charged with stealing military equipment and violating the anti-terrorism act. After wrapping up its probe, the ministry's Criminal Investigation Command referred the case to its prosecution on Monday," a ministry official said.
Prosecutors sought to arrest the man, but the request for a warrant was denied by a military court, which said there was little risk of him fleeing or destroying evidence, according to the official.
Authorities began the investigation of him upon receiving intelligence from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. As the suspect was discharged from the military earlier this week, part of the probe has been carried out by civilian prosecutors, another official noted.
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