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Monday, 24 February 2014

Drug routes expanding in Asian region


Drug syndicates are expanding regionally, hence countries should hold discussions with each other to tackle drug-related issues, said Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau Director Ng Ser Long on Wednesday.

“One of the big trends we have seen in the past, is the movement of drugs from the Golden Triangle to other parts of the world. Now we are seeing drugs from other parts of the world moving to our (Asean) region,” he told The Brunei Times.

Ng led a six-member delegation from Singapore to Brunei for the 6th Bilateral Meeting between Brunei’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).

Ng believes the drug movement trend is a reflection of the region’s economic growth.

“Countries in the region are doing well, their economies are growing, therefore there is larger consumption. So in some way, you see drug movement increasing in the region. The way forward for all of us is good cooperation and sharing of intelligence,” he said.

“At one point, we were all worried about a certain African drug gang making use of local ladies as drug mules/couriers. Three countries (Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia) organised joint operations and shared intelligence, and through that, we managed to bring them (the gang) down,” he said.

Brunei and Singapore have a long history of bilateral cooperation.

The CNB team also visited Al-Islah Rehabilitation Centre in Kg Kupang, Tutong, which began operations on Feb 1, 2010.

The director lauded the centre’s success, and said that knowledge gained from their visit will be used to increase their own standards of quality.

NCB Director Hj Jasmin Hj Jamudin described the working visit as beneficial for both parties, noting the CNB’s legal and investigative aspects as key areas of interest for Brunei.

“Brunei and Singapore share similarities in our approaches and practises in curbing drug abuse. We are also looking forward to implementing some of the new technology used by Singapore (such as using hair to test for drug abuse),” he said.

Concerns over border control at immigration posts was also among the issue brought up during the meeting.

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