Send to

Prosecutors increase rewards for reporting drug crimes to W100m

April 14, 2024 - 14:48 By Lee Jung-joo
Police officials from the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency show the drugs seized by police on April 4. Police arrested two Russian nationals in their 30s and apprehended one without arrest on Mar. 27 for manufacturing hashish and injecting mephedrone at a villa in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)

Prosecutors will raise rewards up to 100 million won ($72,200) for reporting drug crimes and assisting in apprehending offenders, according to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office on Sunday.

The significant increase, rising from the previous range of 1 million to 50 million, was announced in response to the recent surge in drug crimes with the aim to block and prevent further criminal activities.

According to the Prosecutors' Office, the compensation given may be higher than 100 million won, depending on the number of drugs seized through further investigations and the overall gravity of the case.

In the future, the Supreme Prosecutors' Office also plans to increase its budget to provide a maximum amount of 300 million won for those who help with investigations.

Those who are eligible to receive the compensation will also expand, according to prosecutors.

Previously, compensation was only given to those who assisted in investigations before the discovery of the drug ring. However, from now on, compensation will also be provided to those who report critical information about the ring or help to apprehend a fleeing criminal, even after a drug ring is discovered.

For insiders of a crime ring that report internal crimes, prosecutors also plan to introduce a “leniency system” that will waive or reduce their penalties.

This decision comes as it has become more important for insiders to come forward to help prosecutors identify criminal organizations, as more drug rings are well-organized and are based overseas.

Usually, drug rings advertise their products through social media and receive payments through bank transfers. Therefore, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office also added that once a bank account being used for such crimes is discovered, it will establish a new system to immediately stop the withdrawal of money from it to prevent additional crimes.

Meanwhile, according to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, 27,611 criminals were arrested for drug-related crimes in 2023, a 120 percent increase compared to the number of criminals arrested in 2018, which stood at 12,613. Over the same period, the total amount of drugs seized by prosecutors increased from 414.6 kilograms in 2018 to 998 kilograms in 2023.

As for the reason behind the increase in drug crimes, the Prosecutors’ Office pointed toward the prevalence of online transactions through social media and the increase of international drug rings smuggling large quantities of drugs into the country.

According to prosecutors, South Korea has a “low-risk, high-return market” for illegal drugs, as drug prices are high while penalties are low compared to neighboring countries such as China, Singapore and Vietnam that place the death penalty on drug criminals.