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On August 30 – September 1, 2016, INTERPOL hosted “INTERPOL Transnational Investigations into Forestry Crime” in the Novotel Yangon Max hotel in Yangon, Myanmar. A total of 25 representatives from the 5 countries of Great Mekong (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand), the UNODC and EU also attended the seminar.

 

The Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent from Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division of the Royal Thai Police attended the INTERPOL Transnational Investigations into Forestry Crime seminar. On the second day, the representatives from 5 nations presented their individual situation and cases surrounding transnational forestry crimes. For Thailand, the representative informed the meeting of the success in investigating the leads from the rosewood arrests within the protected areas in Thap Lan and Khao Yai. The leads led them to be able to identify the Cambodian ringleader and arrest him for further court ruling in Thailand.Also, there were references to the latest rosewood case in Thailand on the 24 of August in which 20 containers of rosewood from Lao PDR were found en route to Hong Kong, falsely declared as wood charcoal. Presently, the investigation is still ongoing; Customs officials are amidst compiling legal documents for investigators.Representative from INTERPOL praises Thailand’s work ethics and attention on the subject matter. They also advise for Thailand to take initiative in investigating suspects in foreign countries, which the INTERPOL will gladly fund if Thailand is interested in further investigating in the related source nations. Coordination details will be officially sent later on via Thailand’s NCB.

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The Asian Zero Poaching Symposium was held on February 2-6,2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The meeting brought governmental officers, NGOs, and IGOs, to exchange the idea how to stop the poaching. The meeting was perhaps more than any other events highlighted the utmost urgency of addressing the poaching issue in this region. Across the entire continent, the most iconic, culturally cherished, and ecologically indicative species were being poached to supply a variety of illicit markets.

The situation was so dire for flagship species such as tigers, elephants, and rhinos, which were recognized at this meeting. Only an immediate and systematic government could stem and reverse the continual draining of these biological resources from the regions. Fortunately, governments are better positioned than ever to make successful intervention against poacher and their networks.

The Asian Zero Poaching toolkit presented at this meeting was provided a broad framework through which to do so. For the first time, this meeting brough together the most modern and useful anti-poaching tools, system, technologies and best practices.

This meeting would also catalyze a new regional effort that will increase momentum to Zero Poaching, in other words, the beginning of the end of poaching in Asian

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22-26 July 2013, Wildlife scientists and experts from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and the PR of China are finishing a week long forensic training course which was held at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory (NFWFL) in Ashland, OR. The team of instructors from the lab was led by Dr. Mary Burnham Curtis, Supervisory Forensic Scientist of the Genetics Section.

The USFWS Forensic Laboratory, a state of the art facility and the only one of its kind in the world, provided an excellent environment for the visiting scientists to focus on many areas of wildlife forensics. USFWS Laboratory wildlife forensic experts in genetics, morphology and evidence documentation, handling and storage sections of the lab have worked with the participating scientists throughout the week and provided practical “hands on” application, practice and demonstration.

This wildlife forensics training course, supported by USAID, ARREST, ASEAN-WEN, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and facilitated by FREELAND Foundation, was based on the training needs and requests made by forensic scientists from ASEAN-WEN, China and the USA. These training needs were identified during a five country needs assessment conducted in 2012 by forensic wildlife scientists from Malaysia and the USFWS NFWFL. Based on the findings of the assessment team and input from their fellow scientists, the USFWS forensic lab organized a curriculum and training session which concentrated on the specific needs identified by each of the five countries.

The week long training began with lecture, demonstration and exercises on the importance of maintaining and preserving the chain of custody documentation when receiving, handling, testing, analysis and storing evidence in the laboratory. The importance of documenting the evidence chain of custody for successful prosecution was stressed. After the discussion the participants engaged in an evidence transfer, receiving and transport exercise. Participants examined various pieces of “mock” evidence and asked to point out how the chain of custody, documentation and/or sealing procedure was improper.

As the week continued, participating scientists examined various types of wildlife products, including rhino horn, elephant ivory, antler/bone, sea turtle leather and fur seal leather and were shown how to effectively extract DNA from these types of complex wildlife parts and products. Participants received information, discussed and practiced how to utilize validated and standardized procedures and protocols for the extraction of DNA. The participating scientists also observed the subsampling of evidence and why the first steps of DNA extraction take place in a dedicated room.

The subsampling discussion and exercises were followed by the scientists using one of the DNA extraction platforms available at the laboratory. Scientists were also introduced to the quantitation platforms. A field trip to a wildlife rehabilitation facility was followed by a presentation by the Chemistry section on timber species identification and origin inference using DART time of flight mass spectrometry. Next, the group and the Lab scientists discussed practical Forensic issues of quality control, validation protocols, reference material versus Genbank sequences, cross-amplification, troubleshooting, data base and primer design. All of these processes followed the best practices guidelines by the Society of Wildlife Forensic Scientists.

In addition to the DNA focus, the NFWFL morphology section provided information on reptile identification and mammal hair identification. Information and examples of the importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), both in the field and in the laboratory setting, was discussed as well as proper safety protocols and procedures to use when handling hazardous materials and evidence samples from possibly diseased animals.

Dr. Sam Wasser, Director of the Center for Conservation Biology, spoke with the group about his group’s ivory geographical origin inference work, which uses elephant DNA to determine the region of origin that an ivory product or elephant part may have originated from.

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DA NANG (VNS) - Viet Nam's Deputy Minister of Public Security Le Quy Vuong has warned against the emerging threats of money laundering and cyber crime and called for ASEAN nations to work together to stop these criminals operating in the region.

Vuong made the call at the opening ceremony of the 13th ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime, which was held in the central city of Da Nang yesterday.

"These growing transnational crimes challenge the security of every ASEAN nation, so members must work together to deal with them," he said.

Viet Nam's police force, working with its ASEAN colleagues, detected 261 cyber crimes last year which resulted in a loss of VND2 trillion (US$95 million), the Viet Nam Interpol office has reported.

In the first three months of this year, police detected 17 incidents and arrested 34 people on online fraud charges.

According to Lieutenant General Do Kim Tuyen, deputy head of the Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, money laundering is still a very new crime in Viet Nam.

He said the police force had detected 650 suspicious bank transactions last year, of which 22 have since been placed under investigation.

However, the financial damage done by money laundering has yet to be reported.

The meetings in Da Nang will end on Friday.

There are 200 participants from the 10 ASEAN member nations and the bloc's key dialogue partners: China, Japan, the US, South Korea, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, the head of the Philippines delegation Felizando Serapior said: "During the group session we discussed initiatives to improve the training of staff working to combat human trafficking.

"We also emphasised that further education is needed for border patrol officers because they play an important role in the management of immigration."

Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, head of the Thai delegation, revealed that his country had requested environmental crimes to be included in the transnational crime meeting discussions.

"This type of crime is an alarming problem because it infringes wildlife and can badly impact the environment in many countries. Despite this, strong enough action has not yet been taken to bring environmental criminals to justice," he said. — VNS

 

Source: vietnamnews.vn
June 20th, 2013

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