Cases of people offering hand delivery or shipping services to South Korea from the United States are becoming more common. The South Korean consulate office in Los Angeles recently issued a warning to those who could involve themselves in delivering illegal goods overseas from the U.S.
A 26-year-old South Korean international students in the U.S. was arrested last week for allegedly possessing illegal drugs. The student, who is attending a school in the U.S., is accused of sending 300 grams of marijuana in two separate shipments.
Reports in Korea suggest that the student was acting as a deliverer for a friend he met during his time in the U.S. After purchasing 300 grams of marijuana online, he allegedly airmailed the shipment to Korea. Over this deal, he received $4,000 to purchase marijuana in addition to a $200 commission.
Soon after, he visited South Korea on a person trip, during which he was arrested by the police. The South Korean policemen had him on their blacklist for quite some time and were able to arrest him at the Kimhae Airport on Jan. 11.
Although he insists on testifying that he believed that he had shipped to Korea from the U.S. were cigarettes, he is still under prosecutor’s investigations.
The South Korean consulate office in L.A. warned that attempting to deliver illegal goods, such as drugs, gold bars and excessive amount of cash, comes with getting arrested on the spot at the airport.
“Korean investigators can quickly identify people who mail illegal goods to their country,” said a tariff specialist at the consulate office. “Once they learn that a shipment of illegal goods has entered the country, they can track the identity and even the address of the sender. Anyone who comes under that investigation is categorized as potential criminals.”
It is immensely dangerous for anyone to serve as an acquaintance’s delivery person regardless of what exactly is being taken overseas. Police say that there have been cases in which even innocent people have been arrested for violating laws while helping to deliver goods into Korea.
“It is risky to be in possession of someone else’s belonging when traveling to Korea,” said a South Korean policeman. “If the content of what’s being delivered is in any way illegal, the responsibility falls on the person who is in possession of it. It has to be remembered that such an act could be considered a crime.”
By Hyoung Jae Kim