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ASEAN Police Chiefs - Pledge greater cross-border cooperation
Police Life Monthly - August 1997

The Singapore Police Force hosted the 17th ASEAN Chiefs of Police Conference at the Conrad International Hotel from 2-4 June. This was the third time it had hosted the meeting, the first being in 1985. There were only six participants then – Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

This year saw the inclusion of Vietnam (which was admitted in 1996), and the presence of observers from Laos and Cambodia.

The Conference was declared open by Mr Wong Kan Seng, Minister for Home Affairs. "As ASEAN progresses, your jobs as police officers will become more complex. We cannot fight single-handedly; we require the cooperation of various police forces," Minister Wong stressed. "It is therefore vital that we continue, through the ASEANAPOL framework, to build upon and strengthen the level of cooperation that exists today."

The annual conference seeks to exchange ideas on law enforcement and crime control, enhance police professionalism, forge stronger regional cooperation in police work and promote lasting friendship amongst the police officers of ASEAN countries.

It was such inter-agency cooperation between Singapore and Thailand that helped trap globe-trotting murderer John Martin Scripps. Similar cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia led to the crackdown on a counterfeit credit card syndicate.

During the conference, a wide range of regional crime issues were brought up, such as drug trafficking, forgery of travel documents, credit card fraud, banking offences and maritime fraud. Also on the agenda were the developmentof the ASEANAPOL database and the exchange of personnel and training programmes.

Concern was also voiced over the increasing consumption in the region of the trendy drug "Ecstasy". It was agreed that concerted efforts would have to be applied in the areas of intelligence sharing, enforcement and preventive education.

Commissioner Tee reiterated the importance of maintaining the flow and exchange of intelligence, which he said had been vital in combating criminal syndicates involved in activities such as firearm smuggling and commercial fraud.

A significant outcome of the conference was a proposal to set up a network of ASEANAPOL liaison desks in member countries to facilitate cooperation. A joint communique was also signed endorsing the commitments made at the conference by the Chiefs of Police.


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