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S. Korea, Philippines to expand criminal investigation cooperation

All News 15:51 March 09, 2016

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Supreme Prosecutors' Office signed an agreement with its Philippine counterpart Wednesday to boost cooperation in criminal investigations and extradition of Korean fugitives.

The memorandum of understanding reached with the Philippines' National Prosecution Service and National Bureau of Investigation in Seoul, outlines the forming of a joint investigation team and the dispatching of personnel to the partner country in cases involving their respective nationals, the prosecutors' office said.

As of February, a total of 672 South Korean fugitives have fled to the Southeast Asian country to avoid investigation at home. The number is the third largest, following those in China and the United States, according to prosecutors.

A total of 11 Koreans were killed in the Southeast Asian country last year while 10 were murdered the previous year. The total number of South Korean crime victims in the Philippines was 528 in 2015, more than doubling from 262 in 2012, officials said.

Roughly 89,000 South Koreans live in the Philippines on a permanent basis, with more than one million others traveling there every year, according to official data. The number of Filipinos living in South Korea is about 53,000.

Prosecutors said they are also pushing to collaborate on bolstering the Philippines' investigative capabilities, including digital investigation and genetic identification.

"As the number of supranational crimes increases, cooperation with other countries is crucial," Philippine Prosecutor General Claro Arellano told reporters. "We came not only to sign an agreement but also to learn (South Korea's) forensic science and system on cyber crime investigation."

An official at the prosecutors' office said the visit will be an opportunity to export "K-investigation" know-how abroad.


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