The number of teenagers and people in their 20s busted for drug-related crimes jumped between 2016 and 2019, a lawmaker said Wednesday, citing data from the National Police Agency.
A record number of 10,411 individuals were caught in illegal drug cases last year, while the tally was in the 8,000 level from 2016-2018, according to data released by Rep. Kim Yong-pan of the main opposition People Power Party.
From 2016-2019, the number of teenage drug offenders more than doubled to 164 from 81, and the tally jumped 82.5 percent to 2,422 from 1,327 for those in their 20s, the data showed.
Kim attributed the spike to illicit drug trading on online platforms, including chatting applications.
"The internet makes it easy for people to conveniently purchase narcotics and get them delivered to their home," he said, adding that the related authorities should work together to cover "the blind spots" of crackdown operations.
The data showed 2,109, or 20.3 percent, of drug criminals were found to have traded drugs online in 2019, up from 1,120 or 12.7 percent in 2016.
Other age groups also saw an uptick in the tally of drug-related criminals, except for those in their 40s.
In 2019, 2,499 people in their 30s, 2,207 in their 40s, 1,572 in their 50s and 1,295 at 60 or older were rounded up for drug-related crimes. (Yonhap)