The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Tag: drugs (page 1 of 2)

Foreigners busted for drugs, complain of loneliness and stress in Korea

- Prosecutors in lovely Daegu have booked and detained six folk, including a Brit teaching at a local middle school and a Yank hagwon teacher, on charges of smuggling/using “new drugs,” in this case Spice and DMT.

Some 12 other folks, including a USFK dependent and a Canadian hagwon teacher, were booked without detention on the same charges.

Police accuse the motley crew of smuggling the drugs from China and the Netherlands using—sit down for this—international mail and either taking it themselves or selling it to other foreigners.

By nationality, nine were Americans, followed by four Koreans, two Canadians and one Brit, Australians and Kiwi. Personally, I blame the state of Colorado.

The accused reportedly told investigators during questioning that the started taking drugs to “alleviate the loneliness and stress of life in Korea.”

Oh, and speaking of foreign crime, Statistics Korea’s latest report on social trends show that the gap between foreigner and domestic crime rates are closing—the Korean rate of criminality is just 1.8 times that of foreigners. And to make matters worse, foreign criminals tend to be more violent—murder accounted for 0.59% of crimes committed by foreigners in 2010, five times the Korean rate. The rate for mugging was four times higher.

Breaking Bad Korea?

Late last week Cheol-su Law busted a gang composed of Australians and Koreans who are accused of operating a meth lab in Incheon.

A Korean guy went around to about 300 drugstores in the greater Seoul area to buy cold medicine, from which an Australian cook extracted the materials he needed to cook meth in a lab set up in a factory building in an industrial area of Incheon.

They’d produced about 33 billion won of product (10 kg). Which, if I’ve got my numbers right, is about US$29 million. Which really does seem like Walter White territory.

Judging from the news reports, a lot of this product was being moved to Australia—because of Korea’s relatively drug-free reputation, mules coming in on flights from Korea apparently have an easier time slipping by Hojustani customs. In fact, this case was broken open when an Australian drug mule got busted at Incheon with a shit load of meth wrapped around his body.

Police have so far arrested a Korean and Australian and are looking for three other Australians. They’ve also let the Australian police know who they are looking for.

(HT to Hamel)

USFK failing to turn over alleged pothead

According to Newsis, prosecutors are upset that USFK won’t turn over a soldier accused of trying to mail himself pot through USFK’s mail system.

Prosecutors in Incheon got a warrant for the soldier/airman in Osan on Dec 31. USFK, however, isn’t turning the guy over.

The warrant’s good for only 10 days. If prosecutors don’t get their hands on the guy before the warrant expires, they won’t be able to put him into custody.

An official with the prosecution said they’ve contacted USFK and are taking the steps needed to put the alleged pothead in custody, but they are unable to execute the confinement right away due to SOFA regulations.

The soldier in question was caught in September trying to mail himself 900g of pot hidden in coffee cans.

Prosecutors are also looking for a Korean-American who is believed to have helped the soldier smuggle the drugs.

Would the nice USFK people please stop smuggling synthetic pot?

Somebody’s not getting the memo:

Four runaway American soldiers have been arrested on suspicion of producing and selling a new type of synthetic drug, South Korean police officers said Monday.

The suspects, including a 23-year-old private from the U.S. army, only known by his initial K, are accused of smuggling synthetic marijuana via international air mail, officers said. They then allegedly produced a new type of narcotics called “Spice,” and sold the drugs to locals, foreigners, and other American soldiers in the foreigners‘ hub of Itaewon and the Hongdae area in central Seoul.
[..]
The agency said it has also arrested a 27-year-old Filipino woman, only known by her initial D, on the same charges. Twelve locals and foreigners, and 13 other American soldiers have been arrested without detention on charges of buying and using Spice.

Truly innovative stuff, mailing yourself drugs. Amazing they got caught.

USFK sex and drug crimes on the rise. And what’s up with USFK’s mail?

USFK has issued a statement of regret for an incident that took place last night in—sit for this—Dongducheon in which a 26-year-old GI attempted to sexually assault a bar worker. Or so he is accused. He is also accused of beating the bar owner when he stepped in to stop the alleged assault.

According to the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, crimes by American GIs climbed 20.5% between 2007 (283 cases) and last year (341 cases). The upward trend has continued through this year—as of the end of June, GIs had committed 205 crimes. In particular, sex crimes and drug crimes have skyrocketed. In 2008 and 2009, there were just four cases of sex crimes committed by GIs. This year, there were already seven cases as of the end of June. In 2008 and 2009, GIs committed four and six drug-related offenses, respectively. This year, they’ve already committed 10.

An opposition lawmaker has claimed USFK’s mail is being used to smuggle drugs into the country. From the KT:

The U.S. military postal system is being used as a supply channel for new kinds of drugs entering Korea, according to an opposition lawmaker Monday.

To put the brakes on the runaway rise in drugs sent here, it is crucial the Korea Customs Service (KCS) steps up surveillance and inspections Rep. Kim Hyun-mee of the main opposition Democratic United Party. The KCS seized 2.878 kilograms of illegal drugs from the Joint Military Mail Terminal (JMMT) in the first nine months of this year. That is 7.7 times higher than a year ago, Kim said.

Most of the drugs seized were “JWH-018,” better known as “spice,” which mainly sells secretly in Hongdae and Itaewon, Rep. Kim said in a press release.

Sorry that hash oil didn’t work out for you

An American English teacher in Changwon has been busted for eating cookies backed with smuggled hash oil.

Police are still investigating where the oil came from.

OK, it’s probably not a good thing for nuke plant employees to be strung out on meth

Prosecutors have detained two members of the disaster team of Gori Nuclear Power Station in Busan for doing Philopon, a.k.a. meth.

One of the men, who are part of a team tasked with fighting fires at the plant, actually did meth at the office. Police are accusing him of doing it only twice, though. The other guy tried it at his apartment near the plant.

The men got the meth from a criminal gang that operates in the Gijang area.

The Chosun was disturbed enough to write an editorial about it.

Great, marijuana cookies and bath salts

The JoongAng Ilbo warns that new sorts of drugs are making their way to Korea.

Last month, some Korean-American woman by the name of Kang came to Korea with some marijuana cookies and hash oil. They got through customs OK, but when Kang’s friend had some cookies—not knowing their secret ingredient—she got a tummy ache and went to the hospital, where she learned she’d been drugged.

Kang got busted. Bummer.

According to the JoongAng, new drug forms are spreading in Korea, mostly thanks to the efforts of overseas Koreans (i.e., gyopo) and Koreans who have studied overseas. Customs officials have been launching a wide crackdown since June.

One major target has been “bath salts.” There have been 11 bath salt-related busts since last year.

Apparently, peyote has been going around, too.

According to those in the know, these drugs are being traded in clubs and entertainment establishments in—wait for it, wait for it—Hondae and Itaewon, where there are lots of Koreans exchange students buying and selling gear.

Don’t be disappointed, though—there are “foreign” foreigners dealin’, too. JoongAng reporters went to Daehangno’s Marronier Park—Marronier Park for Christ’s sake!—where they met a Southeast Asian fellow. When they asked said fellow if he had some “new pot,” he responded, “How much?”

The government is always late to respond to new drug forms, complain the JoongAng, because it designates illegal drugs only after they’ve already spread. To get something listed as an illegal drug is a legislative process that takes about a six months to a year. They introduced a new system that allows the government to temporarily designate new drugs right away, but the problem persists.

Some police administration professor at Dongguk University told the JoongAng that crackdowns alone won’t allow the government to catch up with new drugs, and that the police and Health Ministry need to build a intel-sharing hotline with the United States and Europe.

Korea steps up monitoring of USFK mail after big drug bust

Oh, now the jig is up—Korean authorities are stepping up their monitoring of USFK mail after a recent drug bust involving a US soldier:

Besides keeping a close watch on detecting illegal substances coming from abroad via air mail, the ministry will step up sharing information on drug-related issues with the Korean branches of the U.S. Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prevent smuggling.

The ministry also said it plans to urge Washington to pay more attention to drug-related cases through diplomatic channels.

Embassy folk, you’ve been warned.

Anyway, in case you were unfamiliar with the case that started this, a US Army private was recently busted for smuggling into Korea a buttload of synthetic pot:

The Violent Crimes Division of Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office confirmed on July 19 that it had issued a detention warrant for a Pvt. L, 23, with the Eighth US Army’s 2nd Infantry Division on charges of smuggling through the international mail some 3,480g of so-called “spice,” a synthetic substitute for marijuana.

The catch was enough for about 7,000 people (0.5g per person), and roughly equal to the total 3,509g of synthetic marijuana seized by customs officials last year.

You have to praise the ingenuity, though—I mean, it’s not like anybody’s ever tried to mail themselves pot in Korea, right?

I’m looking forward to the first “bath salts” bust in Korea.

PS: Been a bit of a tough run for USFK lately, with this, the incident involving the MPs down in Osan, and news that a Korean employee of a US base in Daegu had been illegally selling base passes to local notables.

Yes, I’ve been too busy to post about yet another English teacher drug bust

I guess this is the problem with transient populations—the same stupid mistakes getting repeated over and over again:

An American English teacher in Gyeonggi was arrested yesterday by police for suspicion of distributing some 9 million won ($7,918) worth of marijuana and other recreational drugs to a ring of kindergarten teachers, hagwon (private institute) instructors and college professors.

A ring of ‘em, I tell you. A ring!

What made this bust heartwarming, though, is that it brought together foreign (presumably white) teachers, gyopo students and locals:

A 26-year-old female Korean-American graduate student surnamed Baek and a 48-year-old man surnamed Kim, who runs a band practice room near the Hongik University area, served as middlemen and allegedly helped J distribute the illegal drugs in Seoul and Gyeonggi.

On a more serious note, Matt at Gusts of Popular Feeling does a good job bringing together the various reports on this bust—if you’re an English teacher, be prepared for calls for hair testing and/or random urine tests.

(HT to Wedge)

Four English teachers busted for pot

Busan Vice has arrested has detained an American English teachers and booked without detention three other foreign English teachers for selling and using weed.

The Yank, identified as J, is charged with bringing back 264g of weed from Cambodia in May; some of it he smoked, and some of it he sold to three foreign English teachers working at elementary schools and hagwon in the Haeundae area.

The other three are accused not only of regularly smoking J’s product, but also regularly taking oxycodone.

Naughty. Very naughty.

Well, on a positive note, at least they didn’t mail themselves the pot.

Gyopo teachers to get drug tested, too?

While some were taking delight in the international lawyers getting indicted for drug use/dealing, KBS focused on the real problem—i.e., the lone English teacher who got busted—warning that there is a hole in the system.

That hole would be the teachers who come to Korea on F-4 jaeoe dongpo visas, which is to say, gyopo.

There are currently about 15,400 native speaking teachers at hagwon, 10% of whom hold F-4 visas that don’t require the holder to submit a criminal background check, including drug test results.

According to KBS, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology plans to get drug test results from ALL native speaking teachers at well-known Seoul-area hagwon when they are newly hired or renew their contracts regardless of visa status.

International lawyers busted for drugs!

Oh, and so was an English teacher.

SBS and others report that prosecutors hae indicted and detained a Mr. Park, a US lawyer who worked for a major Korean company, for smoking some American super-weed called “koosh” since early last year.

A second-generation Korean-American, he and his fellow American lawyer, a Mr. Eom, also stand accused of dealing pot to other gyopo and foreigners in Korea.

An official with Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said with the rising number of foreigners residing in Korea, we have a serious situation on our hands when even professionals such as international lawyers are not only doing drugs, but are actively involved in dealing it.

Prosecutors also detained a native speaking English teacher, a Mr. Jo, for distributing drugs.

Also a second-generation Korean-American, Jo purchased large quantities of cocaine, pot and XTC from another Mr. Park with ties to an American East Coast organized crime syndicate. Jo then sold the gear to foreign students in Korea. Or so he is accused. Prosecutors are still looking for Park.

According to Yonhap
, prosecutors indicted students Mr. Jeong (23), a bit-part actor Mr. Ryu (33), and students Mr. Jeong (26) and Mr. Jo (26).

Of the seven indicted, all but one—Mr. Ryu—have American citizenship.

Said a prosecutorial official, “It has been confirmed that amongst foreigners in Korea like international lawyers, native speaker English teachers and foreign students, there are widespread drug crimes… We plan to continuously crack down on foreigner drug crimes.”

UPDATE: Apparently Mr. Park set up his deals via KakaoTalk.

English teachers, gyopo, Canadians and pot, oh my!

Well, it seems we’ve got all the bases covered with this one:

Police said Friday they have arrested and detained five people, including a Korean man with Canadian nationality, suspected of dealing marijuana in two separate drug rings.

Police also booked 31 others, including a 36-year-old college professor from the U.S., for investigation without physical detention for allegedly purchasing the drug from the arrested suspects, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said.

Judging from the story, it seems it’s a case of English teachers smuggling pot to sell to mostly other English teachers. And the cops think there’s more:

Alleging widespread marijuana smoking among foreign teachers, the police said the country needs a more thorough system to identify illegal hemp use among native English-speaking teachers here.

“We plan to further broaden our investigation as there are assumed to be more hemp-circulation rings involving native teachers (of English),” a police official said.

Pothead gyopi busted

KBS reports that Seoul’s finest have arrested a couple of gyopo university students for distributing weed they grew in a rented room.

According to the report, a 23-year-old Mr. Seo and another guy had allegedly taken a university-area rented room and filled it with stuff for growing weed.

Perhaps because they were stoned, KBS says, they couldn’t even keep themselves steady when the police came for them.

Mr. Seo reportedly told police as he was being arrested that they had no right to arrest foreigners. I watched the video, and I couldn’t understand what he was saying, so I’ll let you watch and be the judge.

Seo and his alleged colleague are overseas Koreans who got into local universities through foreign student admissions.

Displaying both the entrepreneurial spirit and zeal for education for which overseas Koreans are so famous, they allegedly purchased pot seeds through the Internet and learned how to cultivate the weed.

They allegedly sold 300 grams of pot, making 45 million won. They also reportedly smoked some of their gear, something that might be inferred by the video of the arrest.

They even drove stoned, reported KBS.

According to one cop from Seoul Metro Police international crimes division, the suspects got together with other gyopi in parks, on the street and in bars to toke up.

Police have detained the two young men, and booked another 23 individuals—including a 23-year-old gyopo student named Mr. Oh—for buying and smoking weed from them.

And no, no nationalities were mentioned.

(HT to Tilly)

UPDATE: According to Yonhap, the two who were detained are, it would seem, Korean nationals, but permanent residents of the United States and Argentina. They were also (allegedly) selling their gear for 150,000 won a gram.

Another guy—apparently Korean, but in cahoots with a Korean LA gang member—was busted for smuggling meth and pot into Korea and selling it to foreign students.

And here’s your obligatory police quote:

A police official said, “Gyopo or foreign students who have come from places like the United States, where people smoke marijuana relatively freely, are committing drug crimes with little sense of guilt… As they could easily learn on the Internet how to raise marijuana, which requires a high degree of skill such as lighting, temperature moderation and air circulation control, we need a systemic mechanism to stop this.”

I’ll let you ponder that.

On a positive note, though, after reading these reports, perhaps Korean students will start asking foreign students to join their study groups.

Meanwhile, in lovely Busan, prosecutors have indicted a bunch of English teachers for doing drugs and smoking pot. Or so reports Yonhap.

Eight people were indicted in total, including a 30-year-old American hagwon teacher identified as Mr. P suspected of—sit down for this—mailing himself 3.58g of pot on Feb 5.

Three Canadian gyopo hagwon teacher, including a 22-year-old Ms. Park, were indicted on suspicion of smuggling in 2.84g of ketamine and using it about 10 times at clubs in Seoul in Busan in April and May.

Another Busan university lecturer, a Mr. Kim (33), was indicted for regularly using ecstasy and pot he purchased while traveling overseas between October and April. As hard as it is to believe, he’s a Korean national, as are three others indicted for smoking pot, including a 25-year old Busan university student, Mr. Han.

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