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Brunei joins Interpol operation

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam and 24 other countries recently took part in an Interpol-coordinated operation targetting migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

Operation Storm Makers, carried out between March 21-25, saw authorities take action against organised crime groups believed to be facilitating the travel of Asian men, women and children across borders for exploitation and profit, Interpol said in a statement on Monday.

The countries involved are: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom and Vietnam.

An Interpol-coordinated operation targetting migrant smuggling and human trafficking has triggered 121 arrests across 25 countries, prompting 193 new investigations. In total, authorities rescued 80 human trafficking victims and identified some 3,400 irregular migrants.

Operational coordination units were set up in Hanoi, Vietnam and Abu Dhabi, UAE, helping assess intelligence and facilitating enforcement actions between participating countries.

Smart electronic gates, connected to Interpol’s databases, were activated at airports across the UAE to boost passport checks and help detect forged documents.

Globally, some 15 million checks were carried out against INTERPOL’s databases at air, land and sea borders, generating ‘hits’ or alerts for fraudulent travel documents, as well as Interpol notices against individuals wanted on various charges, including murder and fraud.

Interpol’s Secretary General Jürgen Stock said, “In just one week, this operation generated nearly 200 new investigations, revealing the sheer scale of these crimes. It is a huge responsibility for law enforcement, particularly when you know that the victims are in abusive or life-threatening situations. Interpol will continue to help authorities close the gaps and ensure the offenders behind these appalling activities are brought to justice.”