By Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan)
The 91st INTERPOL General Assembly is to be held from November 28 to December 1 in Vienna, Austria. As globalization has facilitated cross-border flows of people, information, capital, and goods, it has also led to an increase in transnational crime, putting all countries and peoples at risk. It is thus crucial for nations worldwide to work together, provide mutual assistance, and share information to combat transnational crime. Taiwan’s bid for its meaningful participation as an observer in this event aims to strengthen international cooperation in combating global crimes.
In the wave of developing free economic and trade zones and under the influence of newly developed technologies, the world witnessed the growth of the gaming industry, which has also allowed adjacent sex, gambling, and narcotics industries and organized crime to flourish. In addition, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, criminal syndicates diversified into other illegal activities such as telecommunications and internet fraud.
In 2022, Taiwan’s police authorities uncovered a shocking new type of human trafficking occurring in Cambodia and Myanmar. Operating under highly organized corporate models, crime syndicates had used online platforms to recruit people from all over the world, promising overseas job opportunities as bait. In reality, victims were held captive, forced to work in scam call centers, and subjected to such inhumane treatment as electric shocks, beating, drugging, and sexual violence in order to coerce them into aiding the syndicates’ many illegal activities, including transnational fraud, the laundering of cryptocurrencies, and drug and human trafficking.
Reports by Taiwan’s police authorities to INTERPOL were to no avail. Instead, Taiwan had to rely on police forces in friendly countries to pass on intelligence and cooperate in investigations. Taiwan also mobilized a national cross-government antifraud team to carry out preventative, deterrence, rescue, and investigative operations and stop any more Taiwanese people from being coerced into fraudulent activities.
However, when China applied for accession to INTERPOL in 1984, it attached conditions that contravened the spirit of the Constitution of the ICPO-INTERPOL. China took over Taiwan’s membership rights and status and constantly cited so-called “political issues” to ensure that INTERPOL excluded Taiwan from substantive participation in the organization, creating a breach in crime prevention and intelligence sharing. Criminal investigation is a battle of wits and brawn, as well as a race against time. However, Taiwan can only access vital intelligence indirectly due to its exclusion from INTERPOL. Much information obtained this way is already outdated by the time it is received. This disconcerting situation is allowing transnational crime to flourish and causing the world even heavier damages, wasting a great deal of time and effort and with nothing to show for in return.
While Taiwan is willing to work with the Philippines to crack down on the afore-mentioned cases, the Taiwan police also wish to join meaningfully and equally in INTERPOL mechanisms in various ways. Taiwan’s police authorities remain determined to resolve law and order issues and minimize loss of life and property and harm to people’s well-being.
To ensure a seamless global security network, we ask our Filipino brothers and sisters to support Taiwan’s participation as an observer in the 91st INTERPOL General Assembly to be held in Vienna, Austria, as well as Taiwan’s meaningful engagement in INTERPOL meetings, mechanisms, and activities, including access to the I-24/7 global police communications system and INTERPOL training programs.