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08 November 2017

Myanmar hosts INTERPOL environmental security meetings

NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar – Myanmar hosted an INTERPOL National Environmental Security Seminar and a Regional Investigative Analytical Case Meeting (RIACM) focusing on forestry and related crimes following national and regional operations conducted earlier this year.

In May and June, under operation LEAD (Law Enforcement Against Deforestation), Myanmar authorities seized around USD 2 million worth of illegal timber.

Representatives from law enforcement authorities including the national police, Forestry Security, Customs, the Attorney General’s Office, the CITES Management Authority, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Financial Crime, Anti-Money Laundering Office took part in the two-day (30 and 31 October) meeting.

This was immediately followed by the three-day RIACM which brought together officials from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to address issues relating to illegal timber production and smuggling, and the involvement of organized crime networks.

Participants discussed the results of an operation targeting forestry crimes conducted throughout the Mekong region in 2017, which resulted in the seizure of illegal timber such as Rosewood which was being transported internationally.

Investigations found that corruption and bribery of government officials was facilitating the trade of illegal timber, with officials arrested from forestry departments, customs and port authorities. Corruption and bribery was prevalent in more than 80 per cent of cases discussed during the RIACM.