In­ter­pol in­com­plete with­out Tai­wan’s par­tic­i­pa­tion

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

Spe­cial STAR Cor­re­spon­dent

Grow­ing in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion un­der­lines the ur­gent need for Tai­wan’s in­volve­ment in the global fight against transna­tional crime. The 2016 In­terNa­tions Ex­pat In­sider sur­vey of more than 14,000 ex­pa­tri­ates glob­ally ranked Tai­wan as the best des­ti­na­tion in the world. About 34 per­cent of ex­pats in Tai­wan are ex­tremely sat­is­fied with their work en­vi­ron­ment, more than dou­ble the av­er­age ra­tio world­wide.

With a pop­u­la­tion of 23 mil­lion, Tai­wan is a ma­jor trans­porta­tion hub and an im­por­tant eco­nomic and trade cen­ter in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion. In 2014, it was listed sec­ond among the top-10 safest coun­tries of the world. How­ever, in or­der to sus­tain a high level of pub­lic se­cu­rity at a time when cy­ber­crime and ter­ror­ism con­tinue to spread, it is im­per­a­tive for Tai­wan to par­tic­i­pate in In­ter­pol and work to­gether with law en­force­ment agen­cies world­wide.

Tai­wan be­came a mem­ber of In­ter­pol in 1961 un­der the name the Re­pub­lic of China but was forced to with­draw in 1984 due to po­lit­i­cal fac­tors. More than 30 years have passed since then, and at present only Tai­wan and North Korea are ex­cluded from the or­ga­ni­za­tion. How­ever, Tai­wan is vastly dif­fer­ent from North Korea. The fact that Tai­wan en­joys re­cip­ro­cal visa waiver priv­i­leges with more than 100 other coun­tries around the world in­di­cates that the ROC pass­port might at­tract the at­ten­tion of those en­gaged in transna­tional crime.

Tai­wan’s ex­clu­sion from In­ter­pol—in ef­fect deny­ing it timely ac­cess to key in­tel­li­gence as well as pre­vent­ing it from par­tic­i­pat­ing in sem­i­nars and train­ing work­shops—cre­ates a ma­jor loop­hole in the global se­cu­rity and coun­tert­er­ror­ism net­work. Tai­wan is ready and will­ing to par­tic­i­pate in global po­lice en­deav­ors in fight­ing crime. Since 2009, Tai­wan po­lice agen­cies have col­lab­o­rated with coun­ter­parts over­seas to re­solve 235 cases and ar­rest more than 12,000 sus­pects in­volved in or­ga­nized fraud as well as transna­tional traf­fick­ing of drugs and per­sons, in­clud­ing chil­dren.

Al­though Tai­wan po­lice have spared no ef­fort in com­bat­ing transna­tional crime, their re­quests for In­ter­pol as­sis­tance have met with lit­tle sup­port, as re­flected in the fact that a re­sponse was re­ceived in only 27 of 90 en­quiries made in the first nine months of 2016. In a world shaped by glob­al­iza­tion, an in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity net­work that does not in­clude Tai­wan in­evitably leads to higher law en­force­ment costs for all par­ties con­cerned.

For ex­am­ple, only af­ter Tai­wan po­lice had solved a US$2.2-mil­lion ATM heist per­pe­trated in the coun­try by 22 for­eign na­tion­als in July 2016, did they re­al­ize that Euro­pean nations were highly in­ter­ested in the case when Tai­wan’s Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Bu­reau was in­vited to dis­cuss it at a spe­cial meet­ing con­vened by the Euro­pean Po­lice Of­fice. How­ever, Tai­wan po­lice were un­able to promptly share in­for­ma­tion they had un­cov­ered on more sus­pects in the up­per ech­e­lons of the crime ring; nor were they able to gain ac­cess to in­tel­li­gence they needed. As crime is no longer sub­ject to ge­o­graph­i­cal con­straints, Tai­wan’s ex­clu­sion from In­ter­pol cre­ates a ma­jor loop­hole in the pre­ven­tion of in­ter­na­tional crime, be­com­ing a cause of con­cern for coun­tries world­wide.

Tai­wan’s po­lice, as part of the global po­lice com­mu­nity, have the obli­ga­tion, re­spon­si­bil­ity, will­ing­ness, and ca­pa­bil­ity to par­tic­i­pate in In­ter­pol and work jointly with other po­lice forces around the world. So as to avoid sen­si­tive po­lit­i­cal is­sues, Tai­wan is will­ing to at­tend the In­ter­pol Gen­eral As­sem­bly as an ob­server. Al­though par­tic­i­pa­tion in this an­nual event would not lead to di­rect and prompt ex­changes of in­tel­li­gence with mem­ber coun­tries, or ac­cess to their crime data­bases, Tai­wan’s at­ten­dance at var­i­ous meet­ings and events would fa­cil­i­tate in­ter­ac­tion and com­pen­sate for the cur­rent lack of in­tel­li­gence ex­changes. This could serve, as an ini­tial step to meet ba­sic needs for transna­tional law en­force­ment co­op­er­a­tion, with­out touch­ing on po­lit­i­cal is­sues.

Fight­ing crime is the po­lice’s mis­sion and re­spon­si­bil­ity. As po­lice of­fi­cers, we should tran­scend ge­o­graph­i­cal, eth­nic, and po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences, so that the global po­lice com­mu­nity can work in con­cert to en­sure so­cial jus­tice. We urge you to speak up for Tai­wan at rel­e­vant oc­ca­sions and sup­port its par­tic­i­pa­tion in In­ter­pol.

Liu Po-liang (pic­tured) Com­mis­sioner Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Bu­reau Re­pub­lic of China (Tai­wan) be­lieves that in or­der for Tai­wan to aid in com­bat­ting global ter­ror­ism, Tai­wan should par­tic­i­pate in In­ter­pol.

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