Safety for all, Taiwan’s just cause to INTERPOL

  • 2023-11-28
  • Andrew H.C. Lee, Representative Taipei Mission in the Republic of Latvia

INTERPOL, an important forum spurring the development of global policing against international crime, is where all stakeholders discuss cross-border crimes such as drug trafficking, cybercrime, money laundering and child sexual exploitation together for concrete solutions. The 91st INTERPOL General Assembly this year showcases the importance of collaboration among all countries and stakeholders in the international policing community. Taiwan calls on the international society to continuously support its meaningful engagement in INTERPOL meetings, mechanisms, and activities, including access to the I-24/7 global communications system and training programs.

As globalization and technology development have made cross-border flows of people, information and goods easier than ever, international crime rings also grow exponentially. The situations have grown even worse accompanied by COVID-19’s impact on wide criminal syndicates diversified into other illegal activities such as telecommunications and internet fraud. Cross-border initiatives such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative have also encouraged the growth of the gaming and narcotics industries along the Silk Road. It is thus crucial for nations worldwide to work together, provide mutual assistance, and share information to combat transnational crime. The Article 2 of ICPO-INTERPOL Constitution Charter explicitly stipulates this objective as it clearly states that “its aims are to ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities.” 

Taiwan’s experiences can serve as a valuable reference for global policing, and it is willing to actively engage with INTERPOL. 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’ illegal activities, including transnational fraud, the laundering of cryptocurrencies, and drug and human trafficking. As of July 2023, 478 victims had been successfully rescued. 

We are at a crossroads where Secretary General Jürgen Stock expressed the need for solid international police cooperation is vital than ever to deal with new forms of transnational crimes. To build a more secure and sustainable world, it is crucial for like-minded countries to establish a police point of contact allowing for immediate bilateral communication on a day-to-day basis so as to facilitate timely exchanges and coordinated responses regarding serious crimes, thereby minimizing losses and irreversible distress. Moreover, the reporting mechanism at financial supervisory agency to immediately halt the flows of cryptocurrency and illicit funds, prevent money laundering, and retrieve criminal evidence is also crucial to bring justice in a timely manner. 

Information shared by Taiwan has aroused international attention, and friendly police forces in Europe, the United States, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere are now aware of this new type of crime, whose victims have hailed from a wide range of nations. However, 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. It all comes from political interference from China. When China applied for accession to INTERPOL in 1984, it attached conditions that contravened the spirit of the Constitution of the ICPO-INTEROPL. China took over Taiwan’s membership rights and status and constantly cited so-called “political issues reason” to ensure that INTERPOL excluded Taiwan from substantive participation in the organization, creating a breach in crime prevention and intelligence sharing. 

A criminal investigation is a battle of wits and brawn, as well as a race against time. Politicizing law enforcement will only help criminal and leave a huge void in worldwide crime-fighting efforts and is detrimental to world order. International cooperation among partner forces worldwide is therefore essential if national police forces are to take timely action before suspects evade arrest and evidence is lost. The world should not exclude Taiwan, as this is letting criminals have their way. Instead, in line with the founding purpose of INTERPOL, Taiwan’s police authorities are taking the initiative of engaging with their counterparts around the world to fight crime. Their aim is to close the gap in the global security network and work toward a safer world. Without Taiwan, INTERPOL is incomplete and insecure

Based on the principle of inclusiveness and universality, and to ensure that no gap or breach exists in the international security network, it is essential that Taiwan be allowed to participate in INTERPOL. Taiwan is a natural and like-minded partner for the European Union, and shares Europe’s common values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of laws.

Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is always here! Fighting criminal with Taiwan is vital to strengthen global cooperation and resilience against world crime as we see more and more like-minded countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Japan have publicly supported Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations. We urge the INTERPOL to take concrete action to support Taiwan’s participation in INTERPOL as well as its meaningful engagement in relevant meetings, mechanisms, and activities.