A delegation of the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security led by Lieutenant General Nguyen Thanh Son, Director of the Foreign Relation Department on September 24 attended the virtual 20th ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC-20) chaired by Philippines.
At the meeting, ASEAN countries highly appreciated the host country Philippines for the continuous efforts in preparation for holding the virtual SOMTC-20 according to plan amidst the complicated and unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic.
Delegates agreed that, the COVID-19 pandemic has a profound impact on every aspect of life and increases the level of risk for those vulnerable in society, especially the old generation, women and children. However, the pandemic also shows the response and adaptability to the situation as well as the solidarity, unity and strong determination of all ASEAN member states.
Unfortunately, many criminal gangs also took advantages from the pandemic and the lockdowns to carry out cross-border criminal activities. “In spite of our strict travel restrictions, the movement of drugs and other contraband items are still taking place across our porous borders through most trails and other alternative land routes or waterways”, said representative of the ASEAN Secretariat.
Beyond this, the growing use of e-commerce transactions, bank payment and intermediary payment services during the social distancing period has helped facilitate the development of cybercrime in quantity and severity with various new modus operandi. “This increase in virtual transactions opened the door for cyber criminals to conduct online scams and other elicit activities”, the representative of the ASEAN Secretariat affirmed.
The representative of Philippines then urged ASEAN member states to further strengthen strategical cooperation and collaboration between and among the same members states as well as ASEAN partners in the fight against transnational crime, including international solidarity and legal cooperation against cross-border lawlessness. "This means that our strategies in controlling crime must be more cohesive and systemic", he said.
Speaking at the event, on behalf of the Vietnamese delegation, Lieutenant General Nguyen Thanh Son, Director of the Foreign Relation Department said that, social distancing and increased online working have created favorable conditions for criminals to take ill advantage of the cyberspace to commit crime. Fake news and disinformation relating to the pandemic has provoked social panic and then worsened the security and order.
Fraudulent misappropriation of property has also witnessed an upward trend, many of which are associated with smuggling, trade in counterfeit and shoddy goods, particularly essential items and COVID-19 prevention medical supplies.
| Lieutenant General Nguyen Thanh Son, Director of the Foreign Relation Department speaking at the event.
Lieutenant General Nguyen Thanh Son then proposed a number of recommendations for the coming implementation, including strengthening trust building and high-level information exchange among law enforcement agencies of ASEAN Member States, thus preventing organizations and individuals from taking advantage of one country to go against other countries.
It is necessary for ASEAN law enforcement agencies to maintain and strengthen cooperation in the fight against transnational crime, promote exchange of information, situation and trend; intensify joint investigation campaigns, thereby cracking down on transnational crime syndicates in the region.
Completing legal documents to create frameworks for cooperation on crime prevention and control within ASEAN as well as between ASEAN and Dialogue Partners. All the consensus made at each SOMATIC AMMTC need to be implemented in line with a concrete roadmap.
Strengthening cooperation with ASEAN Dialogue Partners in capacity building and foreign language training (especially English) for law enforcement officers and supplying equipment for the fight against transnational crime.
"Vietnam will host AMMTC-14 and look forward to receiving ASEAN Member States' support for our initiatives to improve the effectiveness of cooperation in preventing and combating transnational crime, thus building a ASEAN Community of peace, stability and prosperity", he said.By An Nhien