Rise in Over the Counter Crypto Crime Prompts Arrests in South Korea

Authorities in South Korea have apprehended individuals allegedly involved in an over-the-counter (OTC) crypto scam, shedding light on a concerning trend of illicit activities within the cryptocurrency sphere. According to reports, a multinational gang orchestrated a fraudulent OTC crypto transaction, resulting in the confinement and theft of cash from a Vietnamese woman.

The incident, which occurred in Seoul’s Gasan District on December 3, 2023, saw the gang lure the victim into a purported crypto transaction before locking her in a vehicle and stealing approximately $127,630 in cash along with her cell phone. Prompt police intervention led to the apprehension of six suspects, including a South Korean man in his 30s and an Egyptian man in his 20s, on charges of illegal confinement and aggravated theft.

While the accused maintain that they were themselves victims of a cryptocurrency scam and assert that the victim was associated with the scam organizers, authorities have proceeded with caution. Despite the suspects’ release on bail, the prosecution service is actively pursuing their cases, reflecting the gravity of the allegations.

This incident comes amidst a broader trend of OTC crypto-related crimes in South Korea, with recent arrests in Incheon and Icheon highlighting the growing prevalence of such illicit activities. Law enforcement agencies have issued warnings regarding the inherent risks associated with in-person OTC crypto trades, emphasizing heightened vigilance in light of the surge in related criminal incidents.