ASEAN to fight drug trafficking at sea

Measures to promote joint investigations in preventing drug trafficking along sea routes in Southeast Asia were discussed by ASEAN members at the 4th ASEAN Seaport Interdiction Task Force meeting.

Lt. Gen. Phạm Văn Các, Vietnam’s Director of the Investigation Police Department of Drug-Related Crimes (C47), said crimes related to trafficking and illegal transportation of narcotics at sea, especially on international sea routes, have increased.

Data from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime showed approximately 420 million containers are shipped by sea every year worldwide.

But the number of containers monitored is less than 2 per cent, making it easy for transnational criminal organisations to take advantage of sea shipping to illegally transport drugs and banned goods.

Recently, ASEAN enforcement has busted a considerable number of drug trafficking rings using sea routes.

In 2018, Malaysia intercepted two tonnes of synthetic drugs being transported to the country, while Indonesia made a bust of 2.7 tonnes of synthetic drugs brought from China.

Các said the transit of containers through many countries made it difficult to investigate ring leaders.

He called on ASEAN member nations to join investigation activities and proactively propose cooperation initiatives on combating drug crime and mobilising resources for the work.

Members agreed that the cooperation mechanism of the ASEAN working group on prevention and control of drug trafficking by sea is an important framework of the region.

It provides a venue for sharing information and experience and enhancing cooperation among regional countries in combating drug trafficking at sea.

They stressed the need to further strengthen coordination among ASEAN member nations in preventing drug crimes and drug trafficking at sea.

The member countries agreed that they would exchange information via Whatsapp and a hotline in order to deliver timely responses, especially regarding cross-border operations.

Representatives from Cambodia reported that the country has implemented the following strategies to effectively fight drug crimes.

  • Reducing supply of drugs
  • Expanding international cooperation in combating drug crimes
  • Making adjustments to policies and laws
  • Enhancing media campaigns to raise public awareness of the harmful effects of illicit drugs

Credit: Viet Nam News

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