Following is the closing address delivered by the Commissioner of Police, Mr Tsang Yam-pui, for the Transnational Organized Crime Conference (TOCC) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) today (March 21) (English only):
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I very much hope that you have enjoyed the past few days.
Like organisers of conferences anywhere, the Hong Kong Police hoped for success when we started preparation work on this Conference 8 months ago. But organisers can only organise - and then hope.
Whether or not a gathering like this is actually a success or whether it is just a talking shop, is entirely dependent upon you, the participants.
One of my immediate impressions from our event however has been the striking similarities in the problems that we all share. I was also impressed by the "meeting of minds" which took place once we started to discuss the challenges which we all face.
To me therefore the conference has already been a success. I am also very pleased that we have been able to work in depth on the points I raised in my opening speech. The need for trust, for cooperation, for lateral thinking, for training, has come up time and time again during our discussions. The importance of this message is loud and clear.
I have also been greatly encouraged by the presence of so many delegates at this conference who are in positions which can actually effect change. These are people who can go back to their home jurisdictions and convince their financial and political masters that change is needed and that the resources required for these changes must be provided.
In addition to having such distinguished company in attendance the conference has also benefited from the wide and diverse participation of delegates of many countries from around the world. This has been a truly international forum.
As I said at the start of the Conference on Monday, the exchanges which have taken place in both formal, and perhaps more importantly, informal events have been vital in building relationships and establishing networks. Many new friendships have been made and I am sure that these will be extended into the future.
Throughout the past three and a half days our theme has been: Bridging The Gap: The Global Alliance Perspective on transnational organized crime.
We have looked at four specific areas:
With regard to narcotics, we have heard just how global criminal organisations can be in terms of their reach and resources. Speakers highlighted the rapid cross-border operations that see precursors and scientific knowledge flowing rapidly. We even learned that the illegal dumping of toxic waste material in a canal in Holland may be related to precursors used in the production of illegal narcotics on the other side of the world.
In cyber crime the borders have literally ceased to exist. From fraud to child pornography, criminal organisations exploit this fact with ease. Some of our discussions at this conference have shown just how complex and fast changing is our task as law enforcement officers. Non-specialist investigators therefore face particular problems, and this has been the subject of much discussion.
Triads are a subject that Hong Kong knows very well, and the sessions which have focused on this manifestation of organised crime have been very well attended. From their historical background triads have adapted quickly to the opportunities offered by the modern world and the challenges posed by them are perhaps now more clearly identified.
The element that links all aspects of transnational organised crime is, of course - money. I am therefore very pleased to note that the panels on money laundering were able to show that it is impossible to combat these activities without open and full sharing of information between jurisdictions and without effective legislation being put into place.
We have gained new insights, we have learned from each other and most importantly I hope trust has been established.
I emphasised the need for trust in law enforcement co-operation. I have heard many discussions over the past few days, both formal and informal, which has allowed this trust to be built. People have asked each other for help and for their experiences, and in return, they relate their own successes and frustrations. It helps tremendously to know that someone else has encountered the same problems that you have also encountered before.
I hope that the sharing and trust that has been established this week will lead to better co-operation in our fight against transnational organised crime. I wish to repeat what I said at the opening of the Conference. We must always ask ourselves, when dealing with local crime, whether there is possible wider involvement. Could this crime have connections overseas? Could organised syndicates be involved?
This questioning is a key element of Bridging The Gap. We have to constantly remember that there may be a global aspect to what initially appears to be purely a local problem.
The Hong Kong Police have come to understand that we must all contribute actual resources if we are to make a real commitment to the fight against transnational organised crime. Hong Kong has particular expertise in certain areas and, therefore, we would be pleased to offer assistance in the vital area of training.
We can offer places on our current courses and are happy to run new courses on specific areas of our expertise. These include:
Command and management courses
Courses on criminal investigation techniques
Financial investigation and
We are also open to other suggestions. If there is an area where you think that we in Hong Kong can offer help, please let us know.
Equally, I am sure many of you have your own areas of expertise which others would be very keen to learn from. I would ask you therefore, on return home, to think about what you can offer in practical terms in this regard.
Several people have suggested to me that they would like to see a gathering like this held regularly. I share that wish. Perhaps we have all helped to start the ball rolling in Hong Kong this week and another organisation may wish to step forward and organise a similar event next year or the year after next. Personally I believe we must maintain the momentum and continue to meet face to face.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
This has been a fairly long gathering and almost every minute has been filled with activity. Some members told me that it had not been easy to choose which of the many panels to attend. This was a good sign. I am also given to understand that almost all of you have enjoyed the social side of the programme.
However, most importantly, you have built your partnerships - whether inside or outside the conference halls.
Before I close, I feel indebted to many people who have worked so hard to make the conference such a success. I wish to make special mention of them and thank them for their hardwork and contributions. Not in any order of merit, I would like to thank:
The keynote speakers, please stand up. Your presentations have been excellent, full of insight and of great value to us all. Next I would like to thank the panel chairmen and speakers. Thank you for sharing with us your professional knowledge and expertise.
It is also very important to me that I thank all members of the organising team. They have devoted a tremendous amount of energy, time and commitment to making the conference a success.
In particular, I would like to mention two people (please stand up):
Peter Yam Tat-wing, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chairman of the Organising Committee and
Kevin Woods, Senior Superintendent, Head of the organising team.
In addition to the hardwork, there have been many uncertainties at various stages of organisation, before the Conference and during the Conference which they have had to deal with. A lot of sweat, but all turned out well.
We must also not forget our Master of Ceremonies, Chief Superintendent Charles WONG who has meticulously kept you informed of details of proceedings throughout the Conference.
Lastly, I thank all of you, the delegates for making this such an interesting and productive gathering.
For those of you from overseas I would like to wish you all a safe journey home. For those staying a bit longer for the Rugby Sevens, please enjoy what I am sure will be a truly spectacular weekend.
Once again, thank you all very much for attending the conference.
Police Report No. 4
Issued by PPRB
End/1700 hrs, Thursday, March 21, 2002