The number of smugglers entering Korea is up 52 percent in the last five years and young, female smugglers are on the rise, the customs service reported.
The Korea Customs Service said yesterday the number of smugglers rose to 5,433 in 2006 from 3,574 in 2001. The most smugglers were in their 40s in 2001, but in 2006 smugglers in their 30s or younger were the largest group at 38 percent.
The number of male smugglers rose 16 percent, but the number of female smugglers jumped 40 percent. In 2006, female smugglers made up 22.7 percent of all smugglers. The products smuggled included original and fake luxury goods and gold bars.
"With high demand for luxury products, young people are trying to strike it rich selling counterfeits as original products," said Kim Su-won, an employee at the research department at the service.
The customs agency said that with the development of the Internet, young smugglers are selling counterfeits through Internet shopping malls or auction sites.