South Korea's telecom ministry said Wednesday it will seek a law revision to slap fines of up to 100 million won ($96,311) on those using mobile phones under borrowed names, a practice used widely in crimes and illegal activities to evade investigation.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it hopes to establish legal grounds by June to punish any activities related to using or inducing, advertising, and mediating the use of such "pirate" phones, with possible penalties also including a prison term of up to three years.
The current law sets rules only on those who lend their names in return for compensation or steal others' identities, but not on activities related to using pirate phones.
The revision would allow authorities to crack down on cases in which the cellphone service was opened legally but has been lent out to someone else.
Pirate phones are widely used in crimes to thwart investigators in tracking down suspects. They are also used in sending spam or in SMishing, which uses text messages to lure people to access bogus websites with malignant codes and dupe them into revealing their financial information.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Security and Public Administration had said it will curb thefts of mobile phones, automobiles, and bank accounts, citing such activities as major threats to people's livelihoods. (Yonhap)