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S. Korea, U.S. to boost ties to combat transnational crimes
By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States signed an agreement Tuesday to strengthen cooperation between their major law-enforcement authorities in fighting transnational crimes.

   Top officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) signed a six-page memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at supporting the exchange of law-enforcement information, the sharing of relevant techniques and cooperative investigative efforts, according to ICE.

   It was signed by KNPA Deputy Commissioner-General Ahn Jae-kyung and HSI Assistant Director of Domestic Operations Leigh Winchell at ICE's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

   "This MOU allows both agencies to exchange and share knowledge and expertise to further criminal investigations, including cyber crimes," Ahn was quoted as saying by the ICE's press release, "I hope that the signing will serve as a memento to develop our strong relationship to combat transnational crimes."

   Winchell said, "It is a pleasure for HSI to work with the KNPA on investigations involving fugitives, computer crimes, intellectual property theft and child exploitation cases."

   He described the signing of the MOU as a stepping stone for stronger ties between both countries.

   HSI has agents in 75 offices in 48 nations, including South Korea.

   Since last October, HSI Seoul and the KNPA joined forces in identifying 18 Korean fugitives wanted for serious financial crimes, who subsequently fled South Korea to the United States with their ill-gotten gains, ICE said.

   In addition, it added, three American fugitives were apprehended and repatriated from Korea to the United States to face prosecution for financial crimes.