SINGAPORE – Preventing the movement of criminals and terror suspects across Southeast Asia through enhanced collaboration between immigration and police agencies was the focus of an INTERPOL-coordinated border operation.
Operation Red Lotus II (1 -31 May) was undertaken at international airports in Bali, Manila, Phnom Penh and Yangon, where immigration and police authorities conducted some 18.4 million searches against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) and criminal databases.
Held under the EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme II, the operation resulted in more than 200 potential threats identified following ‘hits’ against INTERPOL’s global databases.
These resulted in the arrest in Indonesia of three internationally wanted persons targeted by INTERPOL Red Notices, with the subject of an INTERPOL international Diffusion alert also arrested in Thailand. The individuals were wanted for offences which include fraud and abduction.
Further investigative leads were also generated on a number of cases, including on Red Notice suspects in connection with trafficking in human beings and attempted murder charges.
Funded by the European Union and implemented by INTERPOL in ASEAN Member States, the three-year Programme supports ASEAN in its integration process through the implementation of its Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.
“ASEAN is a very diverse region and it is therefore extremely important that frontline law enforcement officials share a level of understanding on what the issues are and how to tackle these collaboratively across the region. Training around an international standard is a fantastic way to contribute to cooperation in Southeast Asia on security matters which also impact the security of Europeans”, said Francisco Fontan, EU Ambassador to ASEAN.
The role of training in enhancing border security was an important aspect of the operation, which saw 159 frontline officers trained by INTERPOL and National Central Bureau (NCB) officials on the use of INTERPOL’s global policing capabilities. These include its international alert Notices system, global databases, and I-24/7 secure police communications system.
“This programme allows us to combine our resources and fully exploit INTERPOL’s global policing and training capabilities to instil an institutional standard to help law enforcement agencies work seamlessly across the region to prevent criminals from crossing borders,” said INTERPOL’s Director of Capacity Building and Training, Harold O’Connell.
With the operation also aiming to enhance the implementation of national standard operating procedures on border security and efficiency, Ari Budijanto, Head of Ngurah Rai Immigration in Bali, said: “Red Lotus is very important for us. Through this operation we received lots of information on the movement of wanted persons. Our collaboration with INTERPOL and the EU is very important in helping us stop suspected criminals from coming to Bali.”
The operation was conducted under the umbrella of the INTERPOL Integrated Border Management Task Force and assisted by its Command and Coordination Centre at the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore.