By Roy Mabasa
A top Taiwanese official has appealed to the international community, including the Philippines, to allow it to participate, even as an observer, in next week’s annual Interpol General Assembly in Santiago, Chile, to enable it to “acquire timely and complete criminal information, safeguard border security, enforce law and order, and engage in closer cooperation with police agencies worldwide to combat cross-border crime.”
“By voicing your endorsement of Taiwan in international forums, you can play a critical role in advancing Taiwan’s objective of taking part in international organizations in a pragmatic and meaningful manner,” said Huang Ming-chao, commissioner of Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, Ministry of the Interior.
Huang’s message was contained in an open letter, a copy of which was distributed by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila.
The challenges for Taiwan, according to Huang, are even more daunting due to “political factors.”
“Taiwan cannot take part in relevant meetings held by the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) and the Interpol, and does not have access to critical intelligence shared instantly via the I-24/7 global police communications system and stolen and lost travel documents database,” he said.
One of Taiwan’s concerns, Huang noted, is a recent UNODC report which stated that large-scale criminal groups and financiers from Macau, Hong Kong, China, and Thailand are in cahoots with criminal networks and chemists from Taiwan, making Southeast Asia into a major center for the production of illegal drugs.
“This underlines the growing influence of Taiwanese drug cartels in Southeast Asia. Taiwan constitutes a gap in the international network of intelligence sharing,” he said.
In spite of the challenges that Taiwan is facing, Huang said its law enforcers have spared no effort in fighting international crime by successfully uncovering numerous instances of international criminal activity, including a joint operation with Philippine authorities to apprehend a Filipino local councilor who was suspected of drug trafficking and had fled to Taiwan.