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Detection dogs can sniff out only 6 drugs, not newly emerging drugs: lawmaker

All News 15:17 October 17, 2022

SEOUL, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- Detection dogs can sniff out only six main kinds of illegal drugs smuggled into South Korea, making it hard for customs authorities to detect the smuggling of other newly emerging drugs into the country, a lawmaker said Monday.

Citing a report from the Korea Customs Service, Rep. Yang Ki-dae of the Democratic Party said 27 percent of the total 3,332 drug smuggling cases busted by customs officials over the past five years have been detected by sniffer dogs.

But such detection dogs can currently sniff out only six most common drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin, leaving it difficult for authorities to detect newly emerging drugs, like gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, also known as GHB.

Meth and cocaine remain as the drugs most frequently smuggled into South Korea, but the country has seen the illegal import of other new drugs grow from 44 kilograms in 2019 to 143 kg last year. In 2021, the detected smuggling of GHB reached 29 kg.

Against such a backdrop, authorities need to come up with more innovative drug detection measures to establish a renewed customs clearance system using cutting-edge technologies, Yang said.

Currently, 39 drug sniffer dogs are working at the customs points nationwide. Up to two years of training is needed to nurture each detection dog, and an annual budget of 847 million won (U$590,902) has been spent for training and maintaining them on average over the past three years.

A sniffer dog engages in a detection demonstration event at an airport. (Yonhap)

A sniffer dog engages in a detection demonstration event at an airport. (Yonhap)


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