The Suwon District Court ruled on Wednesday to seize 191 Bitcoins (~1 833 600$), as the profits were illegally obtained. The case concerned a person surnamed Ahn, who was indicted for operating adult sites, which is illegal in South Korea. The sites had 1.4 million registered members.
Ahn was arrested last year for taking membership fees with Bitcoins, which the court believes is illegal. The Southern Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency seized Ahn's 191 Bitcoin. It was the first time for a local enforcement agency to confiscate cryptocurrency which was gained from illegal activities in South Korea.
The court regarded cryptocurrencies as "actual assets," which have monetary value. The ruling added the criminal profit prevention law includes all types of properties, not just cash but goods which have economic value based on conventional social ideas, adding that cryptocurrencies have economic value.
Attorneys said the latest ruling doesn't necessarily mean that the court has given legal authority for digital currencies or confirmed their status as official currencies.
It is worth mentioning that the Suwon district court ruled last year that "Bitcoin is not subject to confiscation."
The ruling just showed that cryptocurrencies are assets and law enforcement agencies can seize or confiscate them if profits are in accordance with criminal activities.
An attorney at Shin and Kim law firm
We have recently reported that South Korea launched a real-name trading system for cryptocurrencies, banning the use of anonymous bank accounts in transactions to prevent cryptocurrency from being used for money laundering and other illegal activities.