According to local media reports, Yoon Seok-yeol, president of South Korea, has declared an “all-out war” on crypto-powered drug trafficking after a large number of narcotics-trading teens were handed jail time.
At a cabinet meeting held at the Presidential Office in Seoul on Tuesday, the South Korean president said there was a “need” to “mobilize all government capabilities in the fight against drugs.” He added:
It is shocking that drugs are widely distributed among teenagers, our next generation. Teenagers are now participating in drug smuggling or distribution organizations.
Highlighting the urgency of the matter, the president spoke of a recent “incident” wherein police found evidence of a dealer who had sold “390,000 doses” of narcotics via “Telegram, the dark web, and cryptocurrency.” Drug trafficking has been becoming an increasing source of concern and a significant number of teens and people aged in their twenties are being put behind bars for trading drugs.
According to police investigations, the people involved in the act are making use of encrypted chat apps like Telegram to arrange drug deals. The dealers typically ask clients to pay for narcotics in Bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins.
Notably, the nation was stunned by the recent case wherein a 14-year-old girl was found slumped in a public stairwell after allegedly using crypto to buy $300 worth of methamphetamine (crystal meth). Sources reveal that Korean-speaking dealers are using channels like Telegram for advertising their services with impunity.
In addition, Yoon claimed that drug-related crimes were “expected to increase” and “exceed 20,000 cases this year for the first time in history.” He expressed disappointment as to how “until the past 10 years or so,” South Korea had remained free of the scourge of narcotics.
He gave credit to the government agencies and said that this had been made possible “by the efforts of many organizations, such as the prosecution and police, as well as the coast guard, the health authorities, and customs officials.”
Further, Yoon called on the government to make a “comprehensive response” to the rising phenomenon and take a strong stand. He asked “investigative and judicial authorities” to do likewise. He added:
Let’s all join forces to eradicate the spate of drug crimes that are eating away at the country.
However, the same media report claimed that the party in opposition i.e. Democratic Party was planning “to put the brakes on” the government’s plans. The party voiced concerns that some Ministry of Justice-led plans posed a threat to citizens’ rights. They believe that the actions from the department are based on illegal enforcement ordinances leading to proposed new search powers violating citizens’ rights.
South Korean authorities are becoming more concerned regarding the use of digital assets for illicit purposes. In early March, authorities included crimes related to blockchain and digital assets as their priority. The South Korean Police listed dark web tracking, virtual asset analysis, and DDoS attacks as “three central tasks of the cyber-terrorism investigation” that the authorities must urgently address as reported by Todayq News.