Eighteen North Korean defectors have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a voice phishing ring or smuggling drugs from China, police said Wednesday.
The Busan Metropolitan Police Agency said three people were taken into custody and 15 others booked without physical detention on charges of engaging in a voice phishing scam and defrauding 30 victims of 500 million won ($486,240). Of them, seven, including the ring leader surnamed Park, are North Korean defectors.
The voice phishing ring allegedly phoned the victims and claimed their children had been kidnapped or severely injured. The scam was carried out from March 5-23 this year.
The police agency also said 12 North Korean defectors were either arrested or booked without physical detention on charges of smuggling 70 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of 210 million won from the Chinese city of Shenyang, as well as selling and using the drug.
Two other defectors from the North have been put on a wanted list for the same charge.
Three members of the drug smuggling ring were found to have been involved in the phishing ring, the agency said, adding that they bought the drug with the proceeds of the scam. (Yonhap)