newstream

Singapore

Vital for ASEAN countries to share info on returning fighters

Vital for ASEAN countries to share info on returning fighters
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the terrorist threat in South-east Asia 'is at its highest level in recent years, with the Islamic State trying to establish a caliphate in the region. TODAY file photo

Vital for ASEAN countries to share info on returning fighters

Noting that fighters returning from Iraq and Syria pass through Asean countries, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday that it is important for police forces in the region to exchange intelligence and biometric information of some known individuals.

One way to facilitate that will be through an improved version of a secure, Web-based database Aseanpol (Asean National Police) Database System, or e-ADS 2.0.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 37th Aseanpol Conference, Mr Teo said the terrorist threat in South-east Asia “is at its highest level in recent years”, with the Islamic State (IS) trying to establish a caliphate in the region.

Hundreds of fighters from the region have joined the IS ranks and carried out deadly attacks in capitals of Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) countries.

“Returning fighters from Syria and Iraq also mean that more of them are traversing our borders, passing through our countries on the way there, and on the way back. We must therefore coordinate more closely among the law enforcement agencies in Asean ...” said Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security.

Apart from the terrorist threat, he cited cyber crime and drugs, as two other key challenges faced by Asean countries. A common thread in addressing them is “that we must be bold and creative and use technology and IT solutions to support our work and enhance timely information sharing,” he said.

At yesterday’s opening conference, which was held at Resorts World Sentosa, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam also launched the e-ADS 2.0 which allows police forces in Asean countries to exchange information on regional crime trends and security issues.

The older version of the e-ADS was launched in 2006.

The new system enables police forces to share best practices and has several new features, like the Aseanpol e-Library, a discussion forum to exchange ideas and opinions among the forces, and an announcement portal.

“The e-ADS 2.0 will result in better connectivity and exchange of information among Asean law enforcement agencies,” Mr Teo said.