INTERPOL Meeting Focused on Illegal Timber Trade

In May and June 2017, under operation LEAD (Law Enforcement Against Deforestation), Myanmar authorities seized around $2 million worth of illegal timber, according to INTERPOL.

Myanmar hosted an INTERPOL National Environmental Security Seminar and a Regional Investigative Analytical Case Meeting (RIACM) recently that focused on forestry and related crimes, following national and regional operations conducted earlier this year. In May and June 2017, under operation LEAD (Law Enforcement Against Deforestation), Myanmar authorities seized around $2 million worth of illegal timber, according to INTERPOL.

Representatives from law enforcement authorities including the national police, Forestry Security, Customs, the Attorney General’s Office, the CITES Management Authority, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Financial Crime, Anti-Money Laundering Office at the Oct. 30-31 meeting, which was followed immediately by the three-day RIACM, which brought together officials from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam to discuss issues related to illegal timber production and smuggling and the involvement of organized crime networks.

Participants discussed the results of an operation targeting forestry crimes conducted throughout the Mekong region in 2017, which resulted in the seizure of illegal timber such as rosewood that was being transported internationally. INTERPOL said investigators found corruption and bribery of government officials was facilitating the trade of illegal timber, with officials arrested from forestry departments, customs; and port authorities; during the RIACM meeting, corruption and bribery was involved in more than 80 per cent of cases discussed.

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