South Korea launches task force to tackle cryptocurrency-related crimes

South Korea has established a task force aimed at tackling the rise in financial and cryptocurrency-related crime

South Korea has stepped up its fight on financial crime by launching a specialist task force to tackle online fraud, money laundering, and cryptocurrency-related crimes.

According to the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), the specialist task force will work in tandem with the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office to tackle online crime.

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) has revealed that fraud and cryptocurrency counterclaims have seen a 900% increase since 2016.

“A large number of criminal suspects have been involved in a wide range of crimes and organised crime, so we need a dedicated organisation to respond professionally and systematically,” said a representative of the prosecution.

“We expect to maximise the efficiency of investigation by launching the task force.”

Law enforcement will also be tasked with recovering assets that are proceeds of crime. In doing so, they will “improve the current system of punishing criminals” and “establish a rhetorical command system.”

Recent reports coming from neighbouring Japan suggested that money laundering cases involving cryptocurrency were up more than 1,000%, with 7,096 transactions being reported in 2018 compared to just 669 in 2017.

Crime and cryptocurrency have often been discussed in the same light since Bitcoin’s inception one decade ago. This was highlighted by Ross Ulbricht’s trial in the USA, where he was found guilty of running illegal drugs marketplace The Silk Road.

Ulbricht was slapped with three life sentences in a landmark case. However, there has also been a notable rise in commercial banks facilitating money laundering over the past few years, which demonstrates that the vast majority of criminal acts use fiat currencies and not cryptocurrencies.

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