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25 June 2014

Investigating and preventing chemical and explosives terrorism focus of INTERPOL conference in Thailand

PHUKET, Thailand – Representatives of law enforcement, government, customs and chemical industries from Southeast Asia attended an INTERPOL conference in Thailand to boost collective chemical and explosives terrorism prevention, response and investigation capacity and improve regional preparedness.

Organized by INTERPOL’s Chemical and Explosives (ChemEx) Terrorism Prevention unit and the Royal Thai Police, the four-day meeting (17-20 June) provided an overview of the chemical and explosives terrorism threat in the seven participating countries – Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – and how to work together to effectively counter this threat.

“These types of terrorist threats not only pose tremendous risks to public safety at the national level, but also severely affect economic and political stability at the regional and global levels,” said Police Lieutenant General Panya Mamen, Provincial Commissioner with the Royal Thai Police.

“Intelligence sharing and interagency cooperation are key to tackling this challenge, particularly in Southeast Asia. This meeting offers an opportunity to create a professional network of law enforcement and government agencies,” he concluded.

With terrorist groups increasingly using common chemicals as precursors for building Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Improvised Chemical Devices (ICDs), the course considered ways to prevent terrorists from acquiring these materials. Presentations, scenario-based workshops and field exercises taught participants how to recognize the home-based manufacture process, as well as to investigate, measure and address the risk posed by the illegal diversion of chemical precursors.

“INTERPOL strongly advocates a multi-agency approach to tackling the threat of chemical and explosive terrorism. No single government or organization  can address this threat in isolation,” said Ian Rotsey, Coordinator of the INTERPOL ChemEx Terrorism Prevention unit.

“Education and awareness programmes targeting government authorities, police services and the chemical industry should also form a cornerstone of global chemical terrorism prevention efforts,” he added.  

The meeting was supported by experts from the UNSCR 1540 Committee Group of Experts, UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the World Customs Organization, the Australian Federal Police, the UK Chemical Business Association, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Royal Malaysia Police and the Royal Thai Police Bomb Data Centre.