Drug offenders in their teens to their 30s grew sharply in the past three years to represent 58.9 percent of those convicted of drug crimes last year, the chief of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said.
The number of young drug offenders in those age brackets stood at 1,566 in 2019, accounting for 48.9 percent of all drug offenders, before growing to 1,769 at 51.2 percent in 2020 and 1,839 at 58.9 percent last year, Kim Gwang-ho, Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency commissioner, said in a press conference.
“Second- or third-time drug offenders accounted for the majority of those convicted of drug crimes in the past, but the crime is now spreading to first-time offenders,” Kim said, attributing the phenomenon to increased drug transactions over the internet in the wake of the pandemic.
As of 2021, the number of first-time offenders came to 1,962, or 75.8 percent of all drug offenders, up from 1,960 at 74.6 percent in 2020 and 1,751 at 74 percent in 2019, the commissioner said, vowing to carry out a special operation through October to crack down on drug crimes. (Yonhap)