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Prosecutors' office to set up narcotics teams at major branches

Supreme Prosecutors` Office in Seoul. (Yonhap)
Supreme Prosecutors` Office in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Prosecutors will create special investigation teams to tackle the growing number of drug crimes in South Korea, the Supreme Prosecutors Office said Friday.

According to the Supreme Prosecutors Office, four special anti-drug investigation teams will be created at the Seoul Central Prosecutors Office and the district prosecutors’ offices in Incheon, Busan and Gwangju.

The special teams will focus on cases involving large-scale drug smuggling, illegal circulation of medical-purpose drugs and online drug dealing.

Each team will have some 70 to 80 members, including prosecutors, customs, intelligence and food safety officials from the South Korea's customs agency, the National Intelligence Service, the Drug Ministry, the Health Ministry and the Korea Communications Commission.

“Drug-related crimes have been rapidly increasing due to drug trade on the ‘dark web,’ illegal circulation of medical-purpose drugs and sudden increases in drug smuggling into the country,” an official from the Supreme Prosecutors Office said. “South Korea is no longer a drug-free country,” the official added.

The official noted that high drug prices in South Korea have made the country a target of international drug dealers. According to the official, drug prices in South Korea are five to 10 times higher than those in other countries. The price for one gram of methamphetamine in South Korea, for example, can be between 800,000 won-1 million won ($560-$700), significantly higher than 18,000 won in Taiwan and 62,000 won in the US, the official added.

Amid increasing drug trafficking in the country, the government expects the number of drug offenders to reach the highest this year. Between January and July, 10,575 drug offenders had already been apprehended, up 12.9 percent from the same period last year.

The amount of illegal drugs was confiscated during the last year amounted to 1,295.7 kilograms, around eight times higher than the 154.6 kg confiscated in 2017, government data also showed.

By Shim Woo-hyun (
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Korea Herald daum