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Ministerial meeting issues joint statement on drug crime combat

Ministers of some Asian countries and representatives of organisations pledged to promote bilateral, regional and international cooperation in combating drug crime in a joint statement issued at a meeting in Hanoi on September 10.

The ministerial meeting on enhancing the effectiveness of cooperation in fighting transnational drug crime was held in Hanoi at the initiative of the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security. It attracted nearly 200 delegates from Cambodia, Laos, China, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam, the US’ Drug Enforcement Administration, the Australian Federal Police, and the Regional Office of Southeast Asia and the Pacific of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

In their joint statement, the participants affirmed that they will boost bilateral, regional and international cooperation in the work by sharing information, maintaining and expanding projects and programmes, providing technical assistance, and building capacity so as to deal with regional and global drug matters in a more effective manner.

The countries and organisations will also consider launching crackdowns on drug crime and coordinate with each other to fight transnational drug rings in the countries in order to prevent drug crime in Southeast Asia and prevent the drug market from growing in the world, according to the statement.

At a press conference following the meeting, Colonel Vu Van Hau, deputy head of the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security’s police department for drug crime investigation, said data of the UNODC showed that the number of methamphetamine trafficking cases uncovered in East and Southeast Asia rose 8-fold between 2007 and 2017, reaching 82 tonnes and accounting for 45 percent of all such cases around the globe.

The seized meth in the region was estimated at 116 tonnes in 2018, he said, noting that the region is recording the largest-ever boom of meth production and seizure.

Hau also pointed out the complicated drug crime situation in Vietnam in recent years. So far this year, the country has uncovered more than 13,000 drug cases, detained over 20,000 persons involved and seized nearly 5 tonnes of drugs and over 500,000 meth pills, more than 750kg of heroin and 571kg of dried marijuana.

The officer said that at the meeting, the participants shared updated information and warned about emerging drug trends and latent risks that are seriously affecting Vietnam and other countries. They analysed the drug situation in the region and worked out urgent measures and strategies to effectively deal with drug crime.

The delegates also affirmed the commitment to strengthening cooperation in the combat against drug crime inside and outside of the region, he added.