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Drug smuggling in Korea doubles in 2018: data

The amount of illegal drugs confiscated by the South Korean investigative authorities doubled over the year in 2018, according to prosecution figures released on Monday.

The prosecution seized a total of 517.2 kilogram narcotics last year, a 99.8 percent jump from 258.9 kg in 2017, a report released by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office showed. 


The report showed that the amount of drugs smuggled increased as more suppliers inside Korea have become involved in international drug trade, sneaking in drugs to sell them domestically or transfer them to other countries.

The prosecutors also attributed the rise in drug smuggling to more opportunities for ordinary people to buy and sell drugs online.

Data showed the number of people arrested on charges of narcotics distribution via the internet soared by 37.3 percent last year to 1,516, compared to 1,100 tallied the previous year. Most of the drugs traded online are powerful but relatively cheaper drugs, such as ECSTASY, often used at club parties by local college students and students studying overseas.

The number of foreign perpetrators have also increased in recent years, up by 172 percent from 551 in 2014 to 948 in 2018.

The prosecution will clamp down on drug trafficking by establishing a special department in the Incheon District Office focusing on tracking down and nabbing overseas narcotics suppliers. It also plans to open a team at the Seoul Central District Office that monitors and investigates the “dark web,” a collection of hidden websites that have become a hot bed for all kinds of cybercrimes.

By Choi Ji-won (