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Border control training to fight transnational organized crime in Viet Nam

Bangkok (Thailand), 8 October 2014
- Effective border control is a key element in tackling transnational organized crime. In the coming decade, export-driven growth and major regional infrastructure upgrades in Southeast Asia, including those associated with the ASEAN 2015 Connectivity Masterplan, will concentrate resources along development corridors. While this will boost economic growth and lower overall trade costs, it will also provide increased opportunities for organized criminal groups to traffic illicit goods and smuggle across the region's borders.

As part of its fight against transnational organized crime, UNODC works to strengthen border management and cross-border collaboration in the region. It does this by working with member states to enhance cross-border cooperation, improve border agencies' capabilities to collect, analyze and disseminate information, and by providing training programmes to enhance staff knowledge and skills.

Recently, UNODC trained 42 Vietnamese officers from Police, Border Guards and Customs Authority in two anti-smuggling seminars. Held in cooperation with the Vietnam Standing Office on Drugs and Crime as part of the the Border Liaison Office mechanism, the two seminars took place in Quang Tri and in Dien Bien Provinces.

"Border crossings between Vietnam and Laos are highly exposed to movements of goods and people," said Giovanni Broussard, UNODC Programme Officer. "For instance, the East-West Economic Corridor connects the port city of Mawlamyine in Myanmar to the port city of Da Nang in Vietnam, via Thailand and Lao PDR.

"The Vietnamese gate of the East-West Economic Corridor is Lao Bao, only a 4-hour drive away from the port of Da Nang,"explained Mr. Broussard. "This means that border officers at Lao Bao have one of the last opportunities to identify and act upon illegal movements of contraband such as precious Burmese and Siamese rosewood before it gets sold into the Vietnamese market or loaded into shipping containers heading to China."

The seminars provided participants with a refresher in basic enforcement techniques including surveillance, interviewing and searching. They also allowed participants to discuss more advanced investigative practices tied to multi-agency cooperation, and the use of internet and intelligence reports.

In each seminar, participants were divided into smaller teams focusing either on wildlife/timber trafficking or on human trafficking thanks to the support of national experts. As part of the course participants received training manuals and field guides in Vietnamese and UV lights and magnifying glasses to analyze fraudulent documents.

Organized by UNODC in cooperation with Freeland Foundation, the Anti-Smuggling Training courses are part of the PATROL Programme.