Measures to promote joint investigations in preventing drug trafficking along sea routes in Southeast Asia were discussed at a workshop in Hanoi on Monday.
Hosted by the Ministry of Public Security, the 4th Asean Seaport Interdiction Task Force meeting saw the participation of 60 delegates from nine Asean member nations, the Asean Secretariat and China.
Attendees agreed that the working group’s cooperative mechanism is an important framework for the Asean region in its fight against drug trafficking.
They stressed the need to further strengthen coordination among the bloc 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.
Lieutenant General Pham Van Cac, director of Vienam’s Investigation Police Department of Drug-Related Crimes said crimes related to trafficking and illegal transportation of narcotics at sea, especially on international sea routes, had 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 two per cent – making it easy for transnational criminal organisations to take advantage of waterways to illegally transport drugs and banned goods.
Recently, Asean enforcement has busted a considerable number of drug trafficking rings using sea routes. Last year, Malaysia intercepted two tonnes of synthetic drugs being transported to its shores, while Indonesia seized of 2.7 tonnes of synthetic drugs brought from China.
Cac said the transit of containers through many ports made it difficult to investigate ring leaders and called on Asean member nations to join investigation activities and proactively propose cooperation initiatives on combating drug crime and mobilising resources for the work.
Cambodian representatives reported the country had implemented five main strategies to effectively fight drug crimes, focusing on reducing supply of drugs, expanding international cooperation in combating drug crimes, making adjustments to policies and laws and enhancing media campaigns to raise public awareness of damage inflicted by illicit drugs.
The fifth meeting of the Asean task forces will be held by Brunei next year. VIET NAM NEWS