Korean police seize crypto for unpaid traffic fines in trial

Regulation

A South Korean town near Seoul has been successfully operating a pilot program that allows police to seize crypto from the exchange accounts of individuals with delinquent traffic fines.

Gunpo, a city of about 275,000 in the northwestern Gyeonggi province was selected by the national government to execute the pilot program in 2022 which an Aug. 16 report from the JoongBoo Ilbo news outlet stated was a way to collect delinquent funds in an “untact,” or contactless fashion.

The program appears to have been successful, at least in the first half of 2022, with Gunpo police achieving an 88% collection rate on traffic fines amounting to $668,000, putting the city on pace to vastly exceed its goal of chasing $759,000 in traffic fines by the end of the year.

However, the trial only saw delinquent fines totaling an excess of about $759 by an individual subject to crypto seizures by the police, while crypto seizures were only a measure taken if the funds in the individual’s bank accounts have already been exhausted. 

Related: Do Kwon reportedly hires lawyers in S. Korea to prepare for Terra investigation

Jungo Ilbo reported that the fines collected through the first half already exceed the total annual collections over each of the past three years.

The Korean crypto market is a lucrative one for law enforcement to extract fines from as it grew to $45.9 billion in 2021, though the report did not state which crypto would be seized and sold to pay fines.

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