A safer world with Taiwan at Interpol

November 12, 2018

As the transnational crime rate soars in this era of globalization, police around the world must help each other. Efficient cooperation among all police forces is essential to fight crime, stop criminals, and locate fugitives in every nook and cranny.

The aim of “connecting police for a safer world” is indisputably the “essence for being” of the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, that was founded in 1923 in Vienna, and now comprised of 192 member countries, and based in Lyon, France.

Interpol virtually spans the entire globe with its vast membership. Yet, a major gap exists in the global security and counterterrorism network. Why? It’s because Taiwan – which ought to be a valuable partner for having done a lot to combat and solve many cross-border crimes over the years – is left out from Interpol, for fear of political repercussions relating to the One-China policy.

While it’s debatable if such fear is unfounded or not, one thing is clear: Excluding Taiwan violates the Interpol Constitution’s Article 2 to “ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities” and also Article 3 which declares “it is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”

Forbidding Taiwan to participate in Interpol activities for 34 years now, apparently due to the One-China policy, is seen by many people as a form of political interference that endangers worldwide security. Indeed, Taiwan’s exclusion hinders and seriously undermines efforts toward a seamless global security network in line with Interpol’s vision of “connecting police for a safer world.”

Thus, Taiwan is again seeking the international community’s support to enable its participation, even as Observer, particularly in the upcoming 87th Interpol General Assembly on November 18 to 21 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where police chiefs and security experts from all over the world will gather and discuss global security issues to include terrorism, organized crime and cybercrime.

“Fighting crime is the common mission and responsibility of police forces worldwide,” says Tsai Tsan-Po, commissioner of Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, who is at the forefront of a global campaign urging support for Taiwan’s participation in Interpol activities.

“As a member of the international police community, Taiwan’s police force should not be left on the sidelines. It has the obligation, responsibility, willingness and ability to stand on the frontlines with its worldwide counterparts in the fight against cross-border crime,” Commissioner Tsai explained.

There’s no doubt Taiwan and Interpol need each other. Not that Taiwan is lacking in peace and order – Taiwan, in fact, is adjudged 4th safest country in Asia this year, and 34th globally, as shown in the 2018 Global Peace Index of the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace that surveyed 163 countries – but because its exclusion from Interpol, and being denied timely access to information and key intelligence, adversely affects international crime-fighting.

As Taiwan enjoys reciprocal visa waiver privileges with more than 100 countries worldwide, international terrorists and transnational crime syndicates attracted to the island nation could take advantage of a perceived vulnerability from its absence at Interpol.

But despite its exclusion, Taiwan has done a lot to help Interpol fight crime. Commissioner Tsai said Taiwan “has spared no effort to combat cross-border crime over the years and has solved many criminal cases in collaboration with law enforcement agencies of other countries.”

The Philippines has immensely benefited from Taiwan’s help through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines led by Representative Michael Peiyung Hsu. Recently, a Mindanao politician wanted for drug trafficking realized the futility of being a fugitive hiding in Taiwan. (To be continued)

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