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Project Sunbird

Project Sunbird is a three-year (2017-2020) INTERPOL initiative to boost the skills of police across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region in combating terrorism and organized crime.

The project is divided into four pillars:

  • Operations – on-the-ground transnational border security operations will be conducted at key sea, air and land border points in the region to put the skills taught during the training courses into immediate practice.
  • Policing capabilities – training courses are focused on the use of INTERPOL’s policing capabilities including its criminal databases, data processing and counter-terrorism investigative skills;
  • Forensics: developing skills in the various fields of forensics, including the use of INTERPOL’s forensics databases, has been identified as a need for the region’s law enforcement;
  • Women in policing – bringing together current and future female policing leaders to develop their leadership and management skills, working towards increased gender parity in the region’s law enforcement agencies.

Implemented with support from the Government of Canada, Project Sunbird builds upon the successful outcomes of the previous INTERPOL Capacity Building Programme on Improving Counter-Terrorism and International Collaboration in ASEAN Member States (CT-ASEAN).

In the first Operation Sunbird action held under the project in March and April 2017, police, immigration and maritime authorities from all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries screened travellers’ passports at 35 land, air and sea border points against INTERPOL’s databases. Some eight million searches were conducted during the operation, resulting in 17 arrests and 110 ‘hits’ on passports recorded in INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database.

Among the arrests were a suspected foreign terrorist fighter of Malaysian nationality who was deported to Kuala Lumpur from Turkey, and a Sri Lankan national intercepted by Indonesian immigration in Bali travelling on a stolen blank Italian passport registered in the SLTD database who is suspected of purchasing the passport in Kuala Lumpur from a criminal organization.

“Leveraging Operation Sunbird represents an invaluable opportunity to build cooperation and enhance regional efforts to combat the threats posed by transnational crime.”
Brigadier General Yohanes Agus Mulyono, Executive Director of the ASEANAPOL Secretariat

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