South Korea cooperates with five Southeast Asian countries to counter drug crime

By Chanwoo Yong, The Readable
Feb. 29, 2024 9:56PM GMT+9

South Korea’s intelligence agency has partnered with five Southeast Asian countries to tackle drug-related crime.

On February 27, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced the formation of the “Intelligence Coalition of Asia for Counter-Narcotics.” This new alliance includes intelligence and investigative agencies from the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. The collaboration was officially established during an inaugural meeting in Seoul. However, the NIS did not specify the names of the participating organizations from the five countries.

The NIS explained that, in the course of the meeting, the six countries examined the growing presence of large-scale drug cartels within their borders and the challenges posed by drug trafficking in cyberspace. To combat these issues, the members agreed to enhance multilateral cooperation through the sharing of information in real-time and the execution of joint operations against transnational drug crimes. Additionally, they committed to developing and implementing a range of cooperative programs among the participating nations.

Since the beginning of last year, the NIS has actively pursued partnerships with Southeast Asian nations, culminating in a joint working group meeting held in Thailand last November. This cooperation is particularly significant given that a substantial volume of drugs is known to be trafficked from the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, an area often referred to as the ‘Golden Triangle.’

The NIS  reported that of the 804.5 kg of drugs confiscated in South Korea in 2022, over 70% are believed to have been smuggled from abroad. A report from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, released on February 1, highlighted a 150% increase in the number of individuals arrested for drug-related offenses from 2022 to 2023, underscoring the urgency and importance of international collaboration in this area.

The cover image of this article was designed by Daeun Lee. This article was edited by Kuksung Nam, reviewed by Dain Oh, and copyedited by Arthur Gregory Willers.

Chanwoo Yong is a reporting intern for The Readable. Majoring in cybersecurity at Korea University, Yong has an intense interest in cybercrime and cybercriminals as well as a passion for making cybersecurity and its surrounding issues understandable to the general reader. Yong aspires to become a bridge between cybersecurity experts and the public by translating the experts’ language into layman’s terms the public can understand. Yong has worked as a data engineer for an AI Platform belonging to Korea University Anam Hospital, where he participated in research titled “Deep Learning-Based Prediction Model for Gait Recovery after Spinal Cord Injury.”