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20 February 2013 - Media release

International cooperation with ASEANAPOL bolsters security landscape, INTERPOL Chief tells police meeting

Myanmar becomes 59th country to recognize INTERPOL Travel Document

PATTAYA, Thailand – 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 underpins regional and global security.

Speaking on Wednesday at the 33rd ASEAN Chiefs of Police conference (ASEANAPOL, 18-22 February) in Pattaya, before an audience which included Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Chalerm Yubamrung, and the heads of police from ASEAN countries and dialogue partners, the INTERPOL Chief underlined the role of international police collaboration between Southeast Asia and INTERPOL in fighting transnational crime.

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 initiatives that help countries better combat transnational crimes.

Mr Noble cited as ‘the essence of international law enforcement cooperation’ the arrest in October 2007 in Thailand of alleged child sexual predator Christopher Paul Neil, as part of INTERPOL’s Operation VICO.

Neil was arrested by the Royal Thai Police after INTERPOL launched its global public appeal, initiated after German police computer experts at the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) successfully produced clear images of Neil's face, which had been digitally swirled to disguise his image in more than 200 web images of child sex abuse committed in Vietnam and Cambodia.

The audience also heard how INTERPOL member countries have shown their capacity to take actions which have made a difference, such as INTERPOL STORM operations. Undertaken by Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam via INTERPOL, they have made possible since 2008 the seizure of nearly 40 million fake and illegal pills, led to over 60 arrests and closed hundreds of illicit pharmacies and drug outlets.

Similarly, INTERPOL’s SOGA operations have seen the biggest multi-country police effort targeting illegal gambling, carried out by China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. To date they have led to more than 7,000 arrests, the seizure of nearly USD 27 million in cash and the closure of hundreds of illegal gambling dens across Southeast Asia.

Because every minute counts when it comes to INTERPOL providing essential support to its member countries in cases of terrorism or natural disasters, Mr Noble told the conference how the world police body developed the INTERPOL Travel Document (ITD) ‘to deploy the right staff, to the right place, at the right time’.

In this respect, following its recent commitment to recognize the ITD, Myanmar is set to become the 59th country to have recognized the efficiency of the ITD, paving the way for other countries in the region and beyond to follow.

“In 2014, INTERPOL and Southeast Asia, along with the rest of the world, will be presented with a chance to change the global law enforcement landscape forever. The INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore will provide a core, permanent INTERPOL presence in the region. This next step provides us with many opportunities which can optimize the benefits of the IGCI and ensure INTERPOL provides the most relevant, cutting-edge tools and services to our member countries in the Southeast Asian region, and to partners like ASEANAPOL,” concluded Mr Noble.

The IGCI will provide a cutting-edge research and development facility for the identification of crimes and criminals, innovative training, operational support and partnerships.