China to launch cross-border crime combat centre

Beijing, Oct 26 (IANS) China is set to establish a comprehensive law enforcement centre in Yunnan province aimed at curbing cross-border crime along the Mekong river, the media reported on Monday.

“A comprehensive law enforcement and security cooperation centre along the Mekong river will be set up and based in Jinghong, Yunnan province in 2016 to conduct intelligence sharing, case investigation, joint operations and training programmes with the three countries (Laos, Myanmar and Thailand),” said Liao Jinrong, director at the public security ministry’s International Cooperation Bureau.

He said that after the centre is set up, a director will be appointed who will serve for one year and will be appointed from one of the four countries on a rotational basis, the China Daily reported.

The centre is expected to start functioning from mid-2016, Liao said.

Three information-sharing branch centres will be set up in Laos, Myanmar and Thailand to assist with intelligence analysis and case investigation. It will also dispatch law enforcement officers to fight trans-national crimes on the river, he said.

In recent years, the number of cross-border crimes along the Mekong river — including drug-trafficking, terror attacks, organised smuggling and illegal immigration — has been sharply rising, according to the ministry.

“Such crimes tend to become more severe and complex, posing a serious threat to regional security and stability,” said Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun.

In October 2011, China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand agreed to set up a law enforcement cooperation mechanism in Beijing, under which they would conduct joint patrols to fight cross-border crimes along the Mekong river, after 13 Chinese sailors were killed by a drug trafficking ring in the Golden Triangle area of the river.

Law enforcement officers from the four countries have uncovered 9,111 cross-border drug-trafficking cases, arrested 10,455 suspects and seized 35.7 tonnes of drugs on the river in the past four years, the ministry added.

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