Foreigners arrested for manufacturing crystal meth

Colin Watt, May 29, 2019, 9:28 a.m.

A Chinese and a Taiwanese man were arrested Tuesday for manufacturing a massive haul of crystal methamphetamine in a hotel room in downtown Seoul.

Police said the Chinese man, who is in his 20s, is charged with cooking up 3.6 kg of crystal meth, while the Taiwanese man, who is in his 40s, was arrested for supplying the money and equipment.

The street value of the haul is estimated at W12 billion (US$1=W1,190).

According to police, the younger man arrived in Korea from Macau on April 14 and booked a room in a hotel in Jongno in central Seoul.

Police said he used a special method in cooking up the crystal meth to reduce the telltale chemical stench. A police officer said, "The process normally produces a pungent chlorine smell, and the suspect opened the windows while making the drug, but other hotel guests and staff didn't notice anything."

Police have sent the seized equipment and other evidence to the National Forensic Service.

Police were tipped off by the National Intelligence Service because the Taiwanese man is a member of an international drug cartel. Both acted on orders from the gang, and the Chinese man told police he was paid W23 million.

Police are worried about the infiltration of organized crime from abroad. "As Korea's drug market grows, foreign drug cartels seem to be interested in setting up production and distribution networks here," an investigator said. "We believe a drug distribution network has already been set up here and are investigating organizations and distribution channels." 

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