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02 June 2010

INTERPOL President’s visit to Austria focuses on international co-operation against transnational crime

VIENNA, Austria – A visit by INTERPOL President Khoo Boon Hui provided an opportunity for the world police body and Austria to review their collaborative activities against transnational crime. It also highlighted the role of international partnerships and co-operation in forging regional security.

Mr Khoo’s visit (29 May – 1 June) ended with the INTERPOL President meeting with Austria’s Federal Minister of the Interior, Mrs Maria Fekter, with talks focusing on international collaboration and initiatives against transnational organized crime, human trafficking, financial crime and corruption.

Mrs Fekter said INTERPOL made it possible for the Austrian police ‘to quickly exchange information worldwide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year’.

"INTERPOL is the largest international organization for combating transnational crime. Austria’s operational and strategic co-operation with INTERPOL has led to very good results, whether in combating online child abuse, economic and financial crime, including money laundering, as well as in numerous cases involving wanted persons,” said the Austrian Federal Minister of the Interior.

Mrs Fekter cited the arrest in May in Montenegro of Bojan Vuckovic, a suspected member of the Pink Panthers, an international gang of jewel thieves, as one such example of successful co-operation.
Wanted in Austria for his alleged role in an armed robbery against a jewellery shop in Vienna in November 2008, Vuckovic was arrested at the Montenegrin-Serbian border, after Montenegrin Police identified him from nominal information supplied by Austrian authorities. Following close liaison between police in Montenegro, Austria and Serbia, supported by INTERPOL’s Command and Co-ordination Centre and Project Pink Panthers unit at the world police body's headquarters in Lyon, France co-ordinating the worldwide campaign against the gang, Vuckovic’s identity was confirmed by the Austrian authorities.

Emphasizing the need for regions to take a lead in developing common approaches and multi-sector initiatives which can be applied globally, President Khoo said “fighting crime today requires a multi-faceted strategy that involves national law enforcement institutions, international law enforcement organizations, the private sector and the public. By combining our strengths we achieve far more than working separately.”

In this respect, President Khoo's visit also included a meeting earlier yesterday at the Austrian Foreign Ministry, where talks with Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger included an update on the establishment in Austria later this year of the International Anti-Corruption Academy, which INTERPOL is supporting. The Ambassador has previously welcomed INTERPOL’s support for the Academy as an opportunity ‘to draw on the experience of international law enforcement since effectively combating corruption requires the international community to work together to increase its anti-corruption activities’.