Speech by Gary Lewis
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Maritime law enforcement officers meet in Japan

Tokyo (Japan), 21 December 2009 - The Japanese Coast Guard hosted its latest Asia-Pacific Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Seminar (co-hosted by UNODC) from 8 to 10 December in Tokyo. The objective of these seminars is to enhance multilateral cooperation among partner countries in East and South-East Asia by promoting information exchange and sharing experiences.

UNODC Regional Representative Gary Lewis, who was invited to give the keynote speech, noted that transnational organized crime syndicates were taking advantage of maritime transport networks to ship drugs, human beings, environmental products and other kinds of contraband. Mr Lewis called for increased collaboration among the countries of the region because, he said "it takes a network of willing partners to defeat a network of hardened criminals".

In his address, Mr. Lewis drew attention to some recently-released data on drug trafficking trends in the region to show the need for increased vigilance, especially regarding amphetamine-type stimulants. He also pointed to areas where - through increased law enforcement cooperation among countries - the authorities could "deny criminals the ability to profit from other people's misery".

The meeting was held from 8 to 10 December and was attended by maritime law enforcement officers from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, as well as observers from the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States. Previous seminars in this series took place in 2000, 2004 and 2006.