Police in the Philippines have arrested a South Korean man suspected of stealing some $3.5 million from a nursing care fund – and spending the money on crypto.
Officers think the 44-year-old man, unnamed for legal reasons, embezzled the money from April 2022 to September 2022.
They think this occurred while the man was the head of the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC)’s financial management team.
Per EDaily, the man “fled to the Philippines” after allegedly stealing the money.
Investigators think he also embezzled “medical care benefits” and exchanged the money for cryptoassets.A photograph of the suspect. (Source: Interpol/National Police Agency [South Korea])
‘Manhunt’ for ‘Crypto Thief’ Lasted 16 Months
The South Korean National Police Agency (NPA) secured an Interpol red notice for the man after learning that he had fled the country.
The NPA then launched a joint investigation with the Gyeonggi Southern Interpol team and embarked on a manhunt that lasted around one year and four months.
The investigators eventually tracked the man down to a luxury resort in Manila.
The South Korean officers then worked with local police officers to track the suspect’s movements and possible “escape routes.”
The police said they “used a local informant” to take photos of the suspect and confirmed that he was the man they were after.
Officers said they then created “an arrest plan.” On January 5, the police, via the Korean Ambassador to the Philippines, contacted the Philippine Minister of Justice.
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Joint South Korea-Philippines Operation to Ensnare ‘Thief’
On the day of the arrest, a team comprising South Korean and Filipino police officers staked out the suspect’s “hiding place” for five hours.
They then made the arrest as the man was about to use an elevator, releasing pictures of the suspect shortly after.
South Korean police spokespeople claimed they now “plan to discuss” the suspect’s “repatriation to the country.”
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Officers said they were now “consultating with the Philippine Immigration Service and local law enforcement agencies.”
Earlier this week, a former South Korean police officer denied taking money from a “broker” in a crypto-related case.
Prosecutors think the broker paid the ex-police sergeant to sabotage an investigation into a suspected crypto fraudster.
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