Crime in South Korea
Crime is present in various forms in South Korea, although crime rates are relatively low.
Violent crimes (such as homicide, assault and arson) and property crimes (such as theft, fraud and vandalism) make up around four-fifths of all Criminal Code Offences (CCOs) in South Korea. In 2007, the three most commonly committed CCOs were larceny-theft (25%), fraud (22%) and assault (11.5%).
Although South Korea has a lower crime rate than other countries of comparable economic status, the crime rate in 2007 was around 2.9 times higher than in 1978, with the total number of crimes committed rising from 513,165 to 1,965,577. On occasion, sudden changes in circumstance have led to cause short-term fluctuations in the crime rate – for example, the crime rate rose by 15% following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and dropped by 21% during the first ten days of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
High-profile murderers in South Korea include Yoo Young-chul; described as "South Korea's most notorious serial killer", he is noted for having killed a handful of wealthy individuals and prostitutes. In total, he murdered some 26 people and was ultimately hanged for his crimes. Another well-known case is that of Woo Bum-kon, a South Korean police officer who killed 56 people and wounded 35 others in a single night, before committing suicide. His killing spree took him through several villages in Uiryeong County, Gyeongsangnam-do, during the night of April 26 to April 27, 1982. This incident prompted the resignation of then-Home Minster Suh Chung Hwa, who blamed himself for the deaths.
Illegal drug trade
Drug trafficking is a minor problem in South Korea. The number of drug traffickers have been rising annually in the recent years. People involved in the illegal drug trade in the country are mostly young adults. There are certain laboratories in South Korea dedicated to producing methamphetamine ("ice").
South Korea was ranked in the 2012 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index as the 45th least corrupt country, out of 176 countries in total. Several individuals and companies in South Korea have been found guilty of corruption.
Prostitution in South Korea is illegal, but according to The Korea Women's Development Institute, the sex trade in the country was estimated to amount to 14 trillion South Korean won ($13 billion) in 2007, roughly 1.6 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. In 2003, the Korean Institute of Criminology announced that 260,000 women, or 1 of 25 of young Korean women, may be engaged in the sex industry. However, the Korean Feminist Association alleged that from 514,000 to 1.2 million Korean women participate in the prostitution industry. In addition, a similar report by the Institute noted that 20% of men in their 20s pay for sex at least four times a month, with 358,000 visiting prostitutes daily.
The sex trade involved some 94 million transactions in 2007, down from 170 million in 2002. The number of prostitutes dropped by 18 percent to 269,000 during the same period. The amount of money traded for prostitution was over 14 trillion won, compared to than 24 trillion won in 2002. Despite legal sanctions and police crackdowns, prostitution continues to flourish in the country, while sex workers continue to actively resist the state's activities.
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