Matthew Hoey, 33, is accused of illegally breaking into the construction site in Gangjeong Village on the southern tip of the resort island earlier Friday morning and damaging a crane hydraulic hose and lamps, according to the Seogwipo Police Station.
The activist, a former senior research associate at the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies, a U.S.-based non-governmental organization, was visiting the island to participate in an international seminar regarding the controversial naval base project. He now serves as a campaign coordinator for the Global Campaign to Save Jeju Island, an international organization that opposes the naval base project.
Under a 2007 decision, South Korea's Navy plans to complete the base by 2014 to house about 20 warships and submarines. The project was previously stalled due to strong resistance from local residents and civic groups.
After his arrest, Hoey was taken to a nearby hospital to receive treatment for injuries to his hands and knees sustained while allegedly climbing a barbed-wired fence surrounding the site erected by police to guard it from protesters, according to the police.
The construction site of a controversial naval base in Gangjeong Village in Jeju Island. (Yonhap file photo)