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Arrests for online drug purchases rise 20% last year

Jan. 27, 2023 - 17:58 By Son Ji-hyoung


The number of arrests in South Korea in connection with online drug trades reached 3,092 in 2022, a more than 20 percent increase from the previous year, data showed Friday.

The number of packages seized, however, declined from 957 to 657 over the same period, according to data revealed during a vice ministerial pangovernmental meeting held in Government Complex Seoul.

Since the total weight of drugs confiscated was nearly double that of 2021, and nearly seven times over the past two years, the data indicates that deliveries are being made in larger batches.

South Korea's customs authorities seized a combined 587 kilograms of drugs thought to have been purchased online and delivered via international mail and courier services, the data showed.

A breakdown of the drugs by type was not made available.

The government said in a statement Friday it would continue to keep close tabs on the changing trends in illegal drug distribution, as more drug traders use encrypted communications and cryptocurrency to sell drugs without meeting face-to-face.

Seoul also expressed concerns that young people were increasingly being exposed to drugs. About 60 percent of all drug-related criminals were aged between 10 and 39 in 2021, according to the government.

Friday's meeting was the first such one presided over by Bang Moon-kyu, minister of Office for Government Policy Coordination, since its first meeting in October.