South Korea: Police Quadruple Spending on Crypto Surveillance Tools

Source: Scharfsinn86/Adobe

South Korean police and prosecutors have quadrupled the amount spent on surveillance tools dedicated to the crypto sector in the past 12 months.

According to Chosun Ilbo, law enforcement has spent about $2.4 million over the past year on cryptographic surveillance software and specialized training in this area for officers. Last year, that figure was $653,000.

Police across the country have held training sessions for specialized cryptocurrency units, leading to increased costs. The publication adds that agents now have tools that allow them to track cryptocurrency transactions to individual IP addresses.

These tools also allow them to track the details of crypto transactions in real time, view activity on exchanges, and verify “underlying information” related to crypto transfers.

Some of these expenses are likely related to the police crackdown on drug trafficking using cryptocurrencies.

Darknet operators do have portals that allow buyers to find local dealers and pay with bitcoin (BTC) to deliver drugs. If darknet portals still exist, the police are more fortunate in getting drug dealers and buyers.

Crypto Surveillance Tools: South Korean Police Use Heavy Artillery

Statistics from the National Police Agency (NPA) show that 1,174 of the 3,033 criminals arrested between March and May of this year used cryptocurrencies to buy or sell drugs. This represents an increase of approximately 32% compared to the same period in 2021.

The publication notes that the NPA has acquired cryptocurrency tracking systems for its national headquarters, the drug and organized crime department, and the economic crimes department.

At the judiciary level, the following departments have also invested in cryptocurrency tracing solutions: the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office, and the Seoul East District Prosecutor’s Office.

It is possible that the customs officers themselves purchased premium kimchi as part of the fight against illegal trade.

Additional costs were also incurred by agents investigating the collapse of the Terra ecosystem and the role that Terraform Labs may have played in the incident.

Police and prosecutors are also stepping up investigations into alleged attacks on domestic crypto targets that they suspect originate in North Korea.

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