Counter-Terrorism: The Situation In South Korea


April 19, 2023: South Korea is once more having problems with Islamic terrorists, not with attacks inside South Korea, but with Moslem foreigners providing financial support for active Islamic terror groups outside of South Korea. All foreigners entering South Korea are informed about this rule and other similar regulations. So far this year two Central Asian Moslems (from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan) were arrested for sending about $9.000 worth of cryptocurrency to KTJ (Katibat Tavhid wal-Jihad), an Islamic terrorist group in Syria. Central Asians belonging to KTJ. This all began several years ago when some Central Asian KTJ members left Syria because of numerous defeats, but they were then arrested in Turkey and deported. Few countries would take them but South Korea would and even Central Asian Islamic terrorists know that South Korea is a popular country for Uzbeks looking for work in a foreign country. South Korea has a major labor shortage and to deal with it has brought in 1.3 million foreign workers. Less than ten percent are Moslems and most of those are from Uzbekistan. South Korea will accept former Uzbek Islamic terrorists as foreign workers as long as they agree to severing all their ties with Islamic terrorism. Most such men honor their promise, but a few don’t or at least try to pass off their financial assistance to KTJ as not terror related. Some KTJ members in South Korea were expelled for persuading other Uzbeks to join the cause of supporting Islamic terrorism. More South Koreans are calling for a ban on Moslem foreign workers. That worked in Japan and South Koreans see no reason why this policy would not work in South Korea.

For about twenty years Islamic terrorists have been a problem in South Korea. Between 2003 and 2008 South Korea arrested 74 foreigners as terrorism suspects. This was the result of 19 separate investigations. Most of the suspects were Moslems from South Asia or Southeast Asia. Most were involved in collecting information on American military forces in South Korea, or planning terror attacks against non-Koreans. Some Arabs have been caught involved in criminal activities that were apparently to provide funds for terrorists. Most of the suspects were expelled and returned to their home countries, along with files on what the South Korea police had found. These men were usually arrested when they arrived in their home countries, and some of them were already known by counter-terrorism officials there.

South Korea was long believed to be free of Islamic terrorist activities. After 2003 that was no longer the case and South Korea intelligence and police agencies continue to monitor any Islamic terrorist activity in South Korea.




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