by Dave Kovaleski, 3 Dec 2019
The International Criminal Police Organization, or INTERPOL, conducted a security exercise in Southeast Asia that led to various arrests and seizures of illegal goods.
The exercise, dubbed Operation Anchor, featured law enforcement agencies in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam working together to intercept individuals and groups responsible for cross-border crimes. This region of Southeast Asia is a major hub for seaborne trade, as there are many shipping companies in this area. Operation Anchor carried out sea patrols, inspected vessels, goods, and crews, and screened passengers and their passports. The exercise was the culmination of a series of training courses for first responders and investigators.
The operation yielded several arrests and resulted in the seizures of three tons of listed marine species and 14 vessels engaged in illegal fishing. Also, three suspects were arrested for drug trafficking attempts and two cases of smuggling contraband were discovered. Further, 18 suspects were arrested for various transnational cases. In addition, the operation led to the rescue of five victims of human trafficking onboard a vessel in Taganak Island, Philippines.
Also, the exercise generated 10 confirmed hits on Red Notices, which are international alerts for wanted persons. Most of the subjects were either prevented from boarding their flights or were sent to alternative airports for follow up action.
“INTERPOL’s activities in developing policing capacity are vital, whether in the delivery of training to address identified needs or in the use of INTERPOL’s policing capabilities to support investigations and share intelligence. In this way, law enforcement officers remain one step ahead,” Julia Bentley, high commissioner of Canada to Malaysia at INTERPOL, said.
Wan Azri Bin Wan Ishak, Deputy Director of INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Kuala Lumpur, said Operation Anchor was a great example of international and regional cooperation to fight these cross-border crimes.