Newsletter

EUROPOL ANNUAL REPORT

According to the 2006 Europol Annual report organised crime groups in 2006 continued to increase their level of specialisation as well as the use that they make of legitimate business structures. Their internal structure allows them to expand their fields of activity across crime types and international borders. As expected, globalisation is heavily influencing the way organised crime groups communicate and cooperate among themselves. They employ the latest communication technologies to maintain and expand their national and international links. The report is available here.

IP CRIME DIRECTIVE APPROVED

A controversial Directive which criminalises intellectual property violations in Europe was approved yesterday by the European Parliament but does not include its most controversial element, the criminalising of patent infringement.

Supporters of the Directive say it is aimed at organised crime, but opponents claim that it could criminalise legitimate activities. The proposed directive is also controversial because if passed it would become the first directive to impose criminal penalties across Europe.

NEW SMUGGLING TACTIC: SWALLOWING MONEY

The Royal Marechaussee on Schiphol airport last week arrested a woman who had instead of the usual drugs had swallowed money in secure packages. In total the 57-year old woman had swallowed 43 packages containg 258 bills worth 500 euro each, totalling 129.000 euro. The woman was trying to smuggle the money on a flight to Madrid.

UNODC:COUNTRIES IGNORANT ABOUT THREATS POSED BY TRANSNATIONAL CRIME

Law enforcement authorities around the world “operate in an information fog” about transnational organized crime, ignorant of the scope of the threats faced and unable to gauge global trends, the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warned today, calling on UN Member States to develop a coherent blueprint to deal with the problem.

GLOBAL ORGANISED CRIME. A LECTURE.

A lecture by former BBC journalist Misha Glenny on how globalisation and the collapse of communism are jointly responsible for the exponential growth in the global shadow economy since the mid-1980s.

ORGANISED CRIME WAVE GRIPS GUATEMALA

In 1996, when Guatemala emerged from a bloody civil war lasting more than 30 years, people thought that the peace accords between government and leftwing rebels would bring an end to the violence. A little more than a decade later, spiralling drugs­related crime has proved them wrong. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 6,033 people were murdered last year – 13 per cent more than in 2005 and higher even than during the conflict.
The Financial Times reports.

Interesting in this regard is also an UN report El costo económico de la violencia en Guatemala(pdf) with background information.

CHINESE CRIME CARTELS THREATEN S. AFRICA

The rise in organized crime with links to larger crime syndicates in Hong Kong and Shanghai has led the South African government to increase surveillance of Chinese nationals.

MOTORISTS HIT BY CARD CLONE SCAM

Thousands of motorists who use a bank card to buy petrol are thought to have lost millions of pounds in an international criminal operation. It is believed cards are being skimmed at petrol stations, where the card details and pin numbers are retrieved and money withdrawn from the account. About 200 of the UK’s 9,500 petrol stations are thought to have been hit.

The Sri Lankan government claims the rebel Tamil Tigers are to blame but according to the BBC police say there is no definite link. The Hull Daily Mail however quoted a detective sayinghis seven-strong team was investigating possible links with the Tamil Tigers.

Recently in Norway customs officers detected a credit card scam run by the Tamil Tigers.

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