Likely because of the proliferation of the internet and the pandemic, South Korea has seen an increase in online drug trafficking last year, according to data on Wednesday.
A total of 2, 608 people were jailed last year over internet drug trading, the National Police Agency’s data showed. This is higher than the recorded number of the country in the past years with 1, 120 in 2016; 1, 100 in 2017; 1, 516 in 2018l and 2, 109 in 2019. For the past four years between 2016 and 2019, the total number of drug offenders locked up by the authorities has spiked by 133 percent.
There was also an increase in the total number of drug offenders which reached 12, 209 last year from 8, 853 in 2016, or 38 percent.
From 12.7 percent in 2016, the proportion of online drug offenses has also increased to 21.4 last year. Similarly, there was also a sharp increase in drug offenders among South Koreans who are in their 10s and 20s, and have more screen time.
From 81 in 2016, the number of drug offenders in their 10s has increased to 164 in 2019. Last year, it reached 241.
Meanwhile, the number of drug offenders in their 20s has also increased to 3, 211 last year. It was 1, 327 in 2016 and 2, 422 in 2019.
The data was revealed to the media by Rep. Park Wan-joo of the Ruling Party. Park emphasized that comprehensive countermeasures should be planned to address the problem of online drug illegalities, which can be harder to monitor as compared to offline transactions.