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People caught for lending bankbooks in homeless’ names to crime rings

People caught for lending bankbooks in homeless’ names to crime rings

Posted February. 20, 2023 07:34,   

Updated February. 20, 2023 07:34


Police have arrested a group that has lent more than 1,000 bankbooks in homeless people’s names to organized crime rings operating at home and aboard. ‘Black money’ that has thus been transacted through those bankbooks are valued at 13 trillion won (about 10 billion U.S. dollars).

The violent crime investigation team at the Seoul metropolitan police agency said Sunday they had caught and handed over to the prosecution a group of 38 people, who created 1,048 bankbooks in the names of homeless and other people and lent them for fees to organized crime rings, including voice phishing and illegal gambling groups. The group faces charges of violating the electronic financial transaction act and disrupting business. Six people in the group, including the leader who served as the boss of an organized crime ring in the Daegu region, have been arrested and indicted and are currently awaiting trials.

Police investigations have revealed that the total amount of illicit funds transacted via those illicit bankbooks amounted to whopping 12.8 trillion won (10 billion dollars). “The amount is the largest ever involving groups that have been caught for illegal bankbook trade so far,” a police source said.

The suspects, led by the former gang leader, allegedly formed a group for dealing in illicit bankbooks in June 2019, established a paper company headed by a homeless person, and opened 1,048 bankbooks in the company’s name until July last year. Then they lent those bankbooks to organized crime rings and received 1.7 million won (1,310 dollars) per bankbook per month in rental fees, pocketing 21.2 billion won (16.3 million dollars) in total for three years. The suspects also attracted homeless people by promising to offer accommodations and living expenses and even directly operated shelters for the homeless.