Transnational crime is becoming a serious issue in the Southeast Asian region in the context of rapid regional economic integration and patchy cross-border controlling work.

The statement was quoted from a report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced on February 25.

Indonesian police stand guard at the site of a militant attack in central Jakarta, Indonesia (Source

According to the UNODC, illegal trade across East Asia and the Pacific is now worth more than USD 100 billion, more than the combined GDP of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

In the report, the office warned that the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community in December 2015 with the free flow of goods, capital and skilled labour would likely be a major boon to the region’s sophisticated criminal networks.

Criminal organisations have been flourishing in the region for years, involving in drugs, natural resources, counterfeit goods and human trafficking.

The report estimated that between 30 to 40 percent of wood-based products exported from the Southeast Asian region are illegal, while drug production and smuggling continue to boom.

Shipping is another major weak spot seized upon by crime groups, with USD 5.3 trillion of global trade transiting through the region each year.

Of the 500 million containers that are shipped annually, less than 2 percent are inspected, it said.

UNODC Regional Representative Jeremy Douglas stressed Southeast Asian countries must intensify cooperation in order to control crime, while increasing regional trade with other developed countries.

Source: VNA