Better system for Asean coordination

This article is more than 12 months old

Database, exchange of information improved to fight terrorism, cyber crimes

With fighters returning from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria passing through Asean countries, there is a need for close coordination to exchange intelligence and biometric information of known fighters.

That is why Asean countries "must be bold and creative, and use technology and IT solutions" in tackling not just the threat of terrorism but also cybercrime and drugs in the region, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.

Terror threat levels have hit the highest in recent years, alongside a rise in cybercrime and cyber attacks, added Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security.

To complement the partnership between regional law enforcement agencies, he said there would be an improved Aseanapol (Asean National Police) Database System - or e-ADS 2.0 - for "better connectivity and exchange of information".

Mr Teo was speaking at the opening of the 37th Aseanapol Conference at Resorts World Sentosa, where Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam launched the database.

The three-day conference, which began on Tuesday, is an annual event for Asean police forces and international law enforcement agencies to discuss transnational security and law enforcement issues.

While the e-ADS - a secure and Web-based system - was launched in 2006, its new version includes an e-library, discussion forum, events calendar and announcement portal.

These allow the police forces to share best practices, information and crime trends, allowing for faster connectivity, said Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck.

Mr Teo added that Singapore will continue to help develop Asean members' capabilities in fighting cyber attacks, such as by supporting cybercrime investigation training programmes.

With a rise in methamphetamine production in the region, and overseas syndicates involved in trafficking drugs here, Mr Teo added that there is a need to maintain a zero-tolerance stance.

The conference brings together police chiefs from Asean countries and is also attended by delegates of the 10 Aseanapol member countries as well as 18 other dialogue partners and observers.

In his opening address, Mr Hoong added that harnessing technology and innovation, such as using data analytics and game theory, must be part of policing efforts.

He added that as "transnational crime and terrorism are by nature borderless, no single country can fight this alone".