SINGAPORE — A Singaporean man wanted for drug trafficking in the country has been arrested in South Korea where he was involved in a multinational syndicate selling narcotics on Telegram.
Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said on Thursday (Dec 14) that the 37-year-old man was arrested in Seoul on Apr 9 and has been sentenced to jail.
The bureau told CNA that the man was sentenced to seven years in prison, although it did not comment on when his jail term began.
He will be repatriated to Singapore after completing his jail sentence in South Korea, said CNB, adding that it will conduct further investigations into the man’s suspected drug offences here.
“The 37-year-old man is suspected to be involved in coordinating and supplying drugs to associates in Singapore for their subsequent trafficking and sale in Singapore using encrypted chat applications,” said CNB in a news release.
According to South Korean media, citing a media release by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on Thursday, the 37-year-old man led a multinational drug network based in Seoul that distributed drugs to Singapore and Vietnam via Telegram.
The Chosun Ilbo reported that the man promoted drugs through the chat platform and conspired with associates in Singapore to modify the drugs into other forms such as candy or jellies.
South Korean media said this is the first time that local authorities have uncovered a foreign network based in the country selling drugs overseas using Telegram.
Three of the man’s associates — two Singaporean women and another woman of foreign nationality — were also arrested in South Korea, said CNB.
It added that immigration records showed that the man had left Singapore since Nov 12, 2021.
In response to queries from CNA on how the two Singaporean women were dealt with, CNB said that it was unable to comment due to ongoing investigations.
The other woman was sentenced to jail in South Korea.
CNB said it contacted South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) for joint investigations into the man’s activities after receiving intelligence that he had set up a base in South Korea.
He was eventually caught as part of South Korea’s crackdown on cyber drug crimes, said local media.
“Drug trafficking is a cross-border issue that affects many countries, and traffickers increasingly use encrypted chat applications to advertise the sale of drugs to new clients and to arrange for the delivery of the drugs,” said Deputy Director of CNB for Operations, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Leon Chan.
“The successful arrest in this case is a testament to the good relationship and close cooperation between CNB, NIS and SMPA in tackling the transnational nature of drug trafficking.
“For drug syndicate leaders and members who choose to feed their greed by bringing harm to our people in Singapore, CNB will spare no efforts to bring them to face justice in Singapore.” CNA
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