The financial damage from cryptocurrency-related crimes and fraudulent schemes has reached $2.3 billion in the past two years, according to the Korea Herald.
The Ministry of Justice claims that 132 crypto-related criminals and fraudsters have been indicted and detained, with another 288 being indicted without detention since 2017.
In spite of dwindling interest in trading cryptocurrencies, the amount of crime related to the asset class has risen significantly.
In March, Coin Rivet reported on South Korea’s decision to launch a task force specially dedicated to tackling crypto-related crimes.
This was in light of a report from the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) that revealed a 900% increase in crypto crimes since 2016.
Last year, South Korea’s largest exchange – Bithumb – lost more than $31.5 million in a hack that saw its hot wallets targeted by cyber-criminals.
Je Youn-kyung of the Democratic Party in South Korea made a proposal to “tighten online security” for all crypto exchanges, but the bill is still pending in the National Assembly.
“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 FSS in March.
“We expect to maximise the efficiency of investigation by launching the task force.”
Neighbouring country Japan also saw a dramatic rise in financial crime in relation to cryptocurrencies last year, with police revealing a 1,000% rise in money laundering cases involving cryptocurrencies.