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Seoul police officer accused of stealing from lost wallet

By Song Seung-hyun

Published : April 15, 2024 - 14:40

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A Seoul police officer in his 20s is accused of stealing money from a lost wallet, according to the Seoul Seodaemun Station on Monday.

The officer is alleged to have pocketed 200,000 won ($145) from a lost wallet that had contained 203,000 won, in December last year. The officer documented the wallet as only having 3,000 won in a lost property report.

He has been referred to prosecutors on charges of embezzlement in the line of duty.

The police officer’s alleged crime came to light when the wallet's owner, upon reclaiming it, noticed the missing 200,000 won and filed a complaint.

A subsequent police investigation yielded evidence suggesting police had taken the money. The evidence reportedly included statements from the person who initially found the wallet and claimed to have handed it over with 203,000 won, as well as security footage from within the police station that appears to suggest the officer pocketing the money.

The officer maintains his innocence.

The Eunpyeong Police Station said it will initiate disciplinary proceedings against the accused officer, contingent on the prosecutor's decision.

Under current law, lost items must be reported to police. Found items are held in the police's lost and found center. If the original owner does not claim the item within six months, the individual who found it can become the owner.

However, if that person does not retrieve the lost item within three months of gaining ownership, the item is either transferred to the national treasury or disposed of.