A sharp rise in seizures of illegal drugs smuggled through international mail has prompted prosecutors to strengthen their crackdown on such drug smuggling and cooperation with international bodies to fight against them, according to prosecution figures released Tuesday.
The total amount of seized drugs smuggled through international mail and express cargo delivery rose 74.75 percent from 13.23 kilograms in 202 cases in 2013 to 43.1 kg in 353 cases last year, according to the 2017 white paper on drug crimes.
During the year, the number of people who smuggled cannabis through overseas direct purchases came to 1,727, up 20.3 percent from a year earlier. A total of 1.26 kg of hashish was smuggled into the country, up 728.1 percent from a year earlier.
There have been increasing cases of ordinary people who have no experience with drug use purchasing marijuana-infused edibles from abroad, including salad dressings, oils and chocolate, the prosecution said.
The number of perpetrators involved in the supply of narcotics came to 3,955 last year, with a growing number of members from organized crime rings of the Asia region using Seoul for drug trafficking.
The number of foreign perpetrators was tallied at 932, up 137.1 percent from 2013. Chinese topped the list of foreign perpetrators' numbers with 89, trailed by Thais with 75.
The prosecution will focus its efforts on discovering and eradicating drug smuggling rings as it believes a serious number of drug crimes are perpetrated without being caught.
It will also beef up international cooperation through overseas anti-narcotics bodies, such as the Anti-Drug Liaison Officials' Meeting for International Cooperation and the Asia-Pacific Information Coordination Center for Combating Drug Crimes. (Yonhap)