South Korea’s Supreme Prosecutors’ Office (SPO) has recently launched a new task force that’s set to fight and prevent cryptocurrency-related crimes, in a move that comes as a response to a growing crime wave in the crypto space.
According to the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), the task force is going to be specifically aimed at cryptocurrency fraud and other crimes related to financial technology (fintech), while under the SPO’s supervision.
The move comes as crimes related to cryptocurrencies in the country have increased by 800%. This, as in 2016, there were 53 report cases, while in 2017 – the year the crypto market’s bull run saw most cryptocurrencies hit new all-time highs - the figure rose to 453. Last year, South Korea’s residents report 4,591 crypto-related crime cases to authorities.
The task force was launched this week when investigators and prosecutors from all around the country met in Seocho-dong, Seoul. Its main goal is to curb money laundering, fraud, and other illegal activities.
According to the KBS, the force will be able to track accounts of those suspected of having illegally obtained funds, although it isn’t clear how it’ll be able to do it. It will also have the power to share relevant information with other government bodies.
These will then be able to, if necessary, freeze bank accounts, pursue class action lawsuits, and more. Notably, crypto-related crime in South Korea, as well as investor protection, were behind the country’s decision to ban initial coin offerings (ICOs), which has been maintained over the discovery of more fraudulent activities.
As covered, late last year authorities in the country arrested nine for using cryptocurrencies to sell narcotics. It was the first time a darknet website was taken down in the country by authorities.