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31 May 2011 - Media release

ASEANAPOL partnership with INTERPOL boosts regional security, INTERPOL Chief tells Laos meeting

INTERPOL to become ASEANAPOL dialogue partner

VIENTIANE, Laos – INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has told Chiefs of Police of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that their collaboration with global law enforcement initiatives is fundamental to strengthening regional security.

Speaking at the 31st ASEAN Chiefs of Police conference (ASEANAPOL, 30 May–3 June) in the Laos capital of Vientiane, gathering heads of police from ASEAN countries and dialogue partners, INTERPOL's Chief stressed the role of international police collaboration via INTERPOL in fighting transnational crime in Southeast Asia at a time when globalization has seen the expansion and diversification of transnational crime.

“In a world where serious crime has become globalized, international police cooperation in the 21st Century needs to be a routine and systematic practice,” said Secretary General Noble.

Officials from the ten ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), as well as from five dialogue partners (Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand), heard that INTERPOL worked at building global collaborative schemes that help countries better combat transnational crimes that threaten citizens in ASEAN member countries and worldwide.

Mr Noble cited the example of pharmaceutical crime, with transnational organized criminals manufacturing, trading and distributing counterfeit medicines globally, including in ASEAN countries.

The conference heard how INTERPOL has been partnering in the region with the World Health Organization Western Pacific Office, the World Customs Organization, the scientific community, and the private sector, as well as with National Drug Agencies, Police and Customs to disrupt the activities of transnational organized criminals involved in the trafficking of counterfeit medical products. INTERPOL is also developing a new partnership with the Health Science Authorities of Singapore to develop a training capability to help police in ASEAN countries develop greater capacity to combat this crime which threatens the health of all citizens.

Secretary General Noble also welcomed the integration of the ASEANAPOL databases with INTERPOL’s databases, describing the automated transfer of Nominal, Stolen Motor Vehicles and Stolen and Lost Travel Documents data from the electronic ASEANAPOL Database System, known as ‘e-ADS’, to INTERPOL databases as 'a key development in establishing a common platform against crime'.

With the establishment by 2014 of the INTERPOL Global Complex (IGC) in Singapore – an ASEAN member country – opening the way towards a reinforced presence of INTERPOL in the region, Mr Noble said the IGC would play a decisive role in fostering effective 21st century international police cooperation.

“It is in this region, in the most rapidly-growing region of the world, that INTERPOL will become the INTERPOL of tomorrow – an INTERPOL capable of responding to the challenges presented by cyber-crime and able to satisfy the demand of our member countries for capacity building and training,” added the Head of INTERPOL.

An early outcome of the meeting saw the 10 ASEANAPOL member countries unanimously agree to INTERPOL sitting at ASEANAPOL conferences as a dialogue partner from 2012.

With the 31st ASEANAPOL conference focusing on the fight against terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, arms smuggling, human trafficking, financial crimes and cybercrime, senior officials at the meeting were also updated on INTERPOL-coordinated operations aiming to locate and to arrest international fugitives.

Collaboration against transnational crimes was a key theme during the ASEANAPOL conference, on the sidelines of which Secretary General Noble met with Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong (centre, picture four).