The South Korean Supreme Prosecutors' Office (SPO) has announced the establishment of a task force to fight cryptocurrency-related fraud and crimes. The development was reported by the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), one of the largest national public broadcasters, in an article published on Tuesday, March 5.

The new task force will be responsible for the investigation — under the SPO’s authority — of fraud, illegal money laundering, crimes and other illegal activities within the fields of fintech and cryptocurrency.

The decision to create a special task force is a response to the significantly increasing number of fraud cases and crimes related to the cryptocurrency industry, KBS reports. According to the country’s Financial Supervisory Service, the number of reported fraud cases and counterclaims related to cryptocurrency investments has increased nearly nine times, from 53 in 2016 to 453 the following year.

The number of similar crimes in 2018 received by the SPO is reported to have increased by 4,591 registered cases, real-time economic news outlet Money Today reported on March 5.

As Cointelegraph reported on Feb. 28, the Japanese police received more than 7,000 reports of suspected money laundering tied to cryptocurrency in 2018, which is a tenfold increase compared to the previous year.

Earlier last month, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority reported that investment scams, including those involving crypto, totalled 4,996 reported cases, and losses amounted to over $255 million in 2018, as Cointelegraph wrote on Feb. 6.