The number of crimes by foreigners in the country has nearly tripled over the 2004-2009 period and may reach a new high this year, the Justice Ministry's records showed Thursday, Yonhap News reported.
The records, submitted to the parliament, said the number of foreign criminals increased from 12,821 in 2004 to 38,986 last year, rising 20 to 30 percent every year. Ministry officials said the number may well exceed 40,000 by the end of this year.
Organized crime and traffic-related felonies each accounted for 17.6 percent, the records said. Another 8.5 percent were implicated in fraud, 7.9 percent in foreign exchange scams.
Over 55 percent of the crimes were by Chinese nationals, the largest foreign population in South Korea, followed by Vietnamese (7.6 percent), Americans (6 percent), Mongolians (5.6 percent) and Japanese (1.2 percent).