South Korea Asks Interpol for Help Arrest 2 Cyber ​​Gang Leaders

South Korea said Friday it had asked Interpol for help in arresting two foreigners suspected of playing a leading role in large-scale cyber attacks and extortion targeting South Korean and US companies.

The Korean Police Agency said it had a domestic arrest warrant and asked Interpol to issue red notice for the two suspects in an attempt to bring them to South Korea. Red notice is a request to find and temporarily detain someone who is considered to be involved in a criminal case.

South Korean authorities have not publicly released names or further information about the two suspects. They only said that one of them was a Ukrainian citizen.

The suspect, who is a Ukrainian national, was among six people detained by Ukrainian police last June, when South Korean and US authorities joined raids on the homes of suspects affiliated with the “Clop ransomware” syndicate in Kiev and other cities. The police operation targeted suspected members of the Russian-speaking ransomware gang who were allegedly responsible for half a billion dollars in losses in cyber attacks that scrambled data and could only be stopped by paying the ransom demanded by the criminals.

The Interpol logo at the headquarters of the international police agency in Lyon, central France, November 8, 2018.

The Interpol logo at the headquarters of the international police agency in Lyon, central France, November 8, 2018.

News agency Associated Press revealed that the most powerful gangs allegedly operated with the knowledge of the Kremlin, and were beyond the reach of Western law enforcement. Russian authorities have not prosecuted or extradited them.

Earlier this month, South Korean police decided to take steps to detain three of those previously detained in Ukraine. The country also wants to detain another person, whose nationality it has not disclosed, who is charged with violating South Korean laws on communication networks and information protection, extortion and concealment of proceeds of crime.

South Korea is currently seeking the extradition of two suspects from the group that played a leading role in the cyber attack with the help of Interpol, said Choi Jongsang, head of the South Korean Police Service’s cyber crime investigation division.

Their efforts are likely to face difficulties. Ukrainian law does not allow local criminal suspects to be extradited to foreign countries while the legal status and whereabouts of any of the other suspects are unknown, Choi said. [ab/uh]

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