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Drug trafficking conducted by virtual currency and Telegram

Drug trafficking conducted by virtual currency and Telegram

Posted November. 11, 2021 07:24,   

Updated November. 11, 2021 07:24


In September last year, a Korean male in his 40s living in the Philippines posted an advertisement looking for someone to do a high-paying part time job. Five people, including Kim (age 28, female) were hired after applying for the job.  

Kim and the others received 1.5 million won in weekly pay in addition to transportation, food, and lodging expenses as well as incentives depending on sales performance. It was indeed a high-paying job earning more than 10 million won per month. They were involved in work for drug management and sales.  

They had sold drugs smuggled through international mail to 14 people, including office workers in their 20-30s and self-employed for a year. Those who purchased the drugs contacted Kim through “ice-selling ad.” Ice is slang for drugs.  

Kim and the others had their customers transfer the money via virtual money by giving their Telegram ID and passcode, etc. to evade police monitoring.  

The drugs were traded by the stashing method. The traffickers would tell the buyers where the drugs were hidden after confirm‎ing the virtual currency transfer. The drugs would usually be hidden in the back of a street sign, outdoor fan of an air conditioner, recycling center or flower beds.  

The Jeonnam Provincial Police arrested the five traffickers including Kim on charges of violating drug controlling laws and booked the 14 buyers without detention.  

The police discovered the hiding places working undercover and pretending to be a drug buyer, arresting Kim and the others by analyzing CCTVs nearby. The police confiscated methamphetamine, new drugs, ketamine, ecstasy and other drugs equivalent to 100,000 doses, which are worth 10.1 billion won. “We are expanding the scope of investigation to find the head of the drug ring in the Philippines,” said the police.

Hyeong-Ju Lee peneye09@donga.com