More illegal drugs mailed to Korea via online shops

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More illegal drugs mailed to Korea via online shops

As direct transactions on foreign websites increase, the volume of illegal drugs being mailed to the country is expanding remarkably, a lawmaker’s report found.

According to the report released yesterday by Lee Man-woo, a lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party, the volume of illegal drugs discovered by customs officials has risen over the past few years. The report analyzed data provided by the Korea Customs Service.

The volume grew from 4 billion won ($3.92 million) worth of drugs in 2010 to 48.6 billion won as of the first half of this year.

Most of the drugs, including amphetamine (a major ingredient of Philopon, also called methamphetamine), poppers and synthetic cannabis were bought directly online, the report said.

The customs authority’s simplification of regulations in July for items purchased online will lead more people to attempt to have illegal drugs sent to them, the lawmaker said.

“Along with rapid growth in the direct e-commerce market, the amount of drugs illegally entering the country and its total value have surged recently,” Lee said. “There should be measures for the gray area that has been newly created as the result of simplifying the customs process.”

The customs office forecasts that the figure will continue to grow.

As of July, all goods except for food and medical products can pass customs with proper documentation. Previously, few products were able to pass with paper work and were required to be opened and inspected by customs officials.

BY song su-hyun [ ssh@joongang.co.kr]




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