It reads like a K-drama plot: an ex-spy kidnaps a woman from an upscale district of Seoul over a crypto dispute, then kills her with drugs from a plastic surgery clinic.

The case of purported spy-turned-hitman Lee Kyung-woo, who was sentenced to life in prison in October, has shocked South Korea, a safe and almost drug-free country where violent killings are rare.

The country has, however, had issues with crypto crime. It was home to fallen crypto king Do Kwon, currently in a Montenegrin jail awaiting extradition over the spectacular multi-billion-dollar collapse of his Terra and Luna tokens.