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Date: Tue, 4 Nov 97 16:32:13 CST
From: Larry-Jennie <lar-jen@interaccess.com>
Subject: [cia-drugs] Organised crime threatens Asia-Pacific stability

Organised crime threatens Asia-Pacific stability

By John Mair, Reuters
31 October 1997

CANBERRA, Oct 31 (Reuters) - The Asia-Pacific region will see an increase in organised crime, in the traditional area of drugs and the new realm of economic crime, a report from the Australian Federal Police said. The 1996/97 annual report said organised crime was becoming a global business with technologically astute gangs starting to resemble multinational corporations. "Organised crime has become more sophisticated, mobile and global, and its structures often reflect those of transitional corporations with access to the latest technologies," it said.

"They (criminal organisations) are quick to harness developing technology to enhance activities and to launch new criminal enterprises."

Economic and political stability in the Asia-Pacific would be threatened said the police report, received by Reuters on Friday.

"Trafficking in illicit drugs, money laundering, fraud and arms trafficking will have a significant impact on the political and economic stability within the region."

The report said that with the global flow of information and money through new technologies, criminals could now orchestrate their crimes from offshore.

Asian crime gangs, like Chinese Triads and Japanese Yakuza, continued to pose a threat to Australia, the report added, echoing comments on Monday by Australian police that a handful of Chinese migrant drug lords were now the "Mr Bigs" of crime and controlled heroin importation from Sydney's Chinatown.

But the report also said cutbacks in government funding had limited its ability to adequately fight crime.

It said funding cuts since 1993/94 had reduced the number of investigations and limited intelligence gathering. It also showed Australian Federal Police expenditure in 1996/97 was six percent below that of the previous year.

In a newspaper interview on Monday, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer said only one major proactive drug investigation could be mounted at a time while six or seven other drug syndicates continued to operate at the same time.

An police spokesman told Reuters on Monday that only 10 percent of an estimated A$3.0 billion (US2.1 billion) worth of heroin imported each year into Australia was seized.


Copyright 1997 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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