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The truth behind suspicious overseas parcels must be swiftly uncovered

The truth behind suspicious overseas parcels must be swiftly uncovered

Posted July. 24, 2023 07:47,   

Updated July. 24, 2023 07:47


Suspicious international shipping parcels of unknown origin are being randomly distributed across the country. In Ulsan, it came to light that individuals who opened these unidentified overseas packages were subsequently taken to the hospital due to symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, and numbness in their hands and feet. This has led to speculations that the parcels might contain harmful gaseous substances. The police received reports of over 3,500 such suspicious mails over the past three days.

Most postal mails were addressed in Taipei, Taiwan, while some were discovered in Malaysia and Uzbekistan. Based on information provided by the Taiwanese authorities, these mails originated from Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China, and entered Korea through Taiwan. This suggests that someone might have deliberately manipulated the envelopes to appear as if they were sent from Taiwan, rather than China, with Taiwan listed as the sender. In response, Taiwan's delegation to Korea and the deputy prime minister-level executive vice president of the Executive Council expressed their commitment to thoroughly investigate the matter until the truth is fully uncovered. This likely takes into account the potential diplomatic implications that this incident could have.

Most of the reported mails consisted of small products, such as lip balm, while some parcels were completely empty. This has raised the possibility that the incident could be a ‘brushing scam.’ In this scam, online shopping platforms send unordered items to anonymous recipients to manipulate their performance metrics and ratings. Interestingly, reports indicate that the addresses of certain Taiwanese mail items matched those previously identified in Canada and elsewhere during the ‘brushing scam’ incidents in 2020. However, upon analysis, no chemical, biological, or radioactive substances were detected in the white dough or powder found within the Ulsan package.

The significant volume of suspicious international mails currently circulating is understandably causing public anxiety. Even a package containing hazardous chemicals or explosives could have severe consequences. A poignant example is the situation in the U.S. following the 9/11 attacks when anthrax-laden postal mail led to the infection of about 20 people and the tragic loss of 5 lives. Such biochemical terrorism using mail may recur at any time. Someone may take advantage of the loosened awareness because of the recurrence of the ‘brushing scam’ and use it for actual chemical terrorism.

The government must work closely with the relevant countries to thoroughly ascertain the sender of these mails, the method of their entry into South Korea, and their intended purpose. This is a critical moment where finger-pointing between the ruling and opposition parties over the purported weakening of the National Intelligence Service's anti-aircraft investigation capability or the government's response should be set aside. Instead, efforts should be focused on fortifying the customs clearance inspection system for overseas postal items. With the surge in international parcels due to the rise in overseas direct purchases, it is essential to prevent them from becoming a medium that jeopardizes the safety of the people.