29 April 2007

Canada: How illegal bars are fuelling organized crime in the Lower Mainland

Across the Lower Mainland, police are concerned about a proliferation of after-hours clubs frequented by gangsters, bikers and others -- lucrative, clandestine operations that in many cases are helping fuel organized crime.

28 April 2007

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.

Organised crime is fast becoming a leading player in the global tobacco industry

Organised crime is fast becoming a leading player in the global tobacco industry, costing companies and governments billions of pounds in lost profits and taxes, according to British American Tobacco.

Canada: Stowaway ship tip may have been organized crime ploy

The Mounties are checking to see if organized crime planted false information to prompt a massive search for stowaways on a container ship that came to Halifax this month.

27 April 2007

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.

25 April 2007

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.

24 April 2007

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.

23 April 2007

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.

Australia: new Criminal Assets Confiscation Act allows police to seize more assets

Police figures provided to the Sunday Mail reveal that, since the new Criminal Assets Confiscation Act came into force in April last year, restraining orders have been placed over criminal assets valued at $17,732,167.

22 April 2007

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.

Asian transnational organized crime and its impact on the United States

A report (pdf) written by James O. Finckenaur and Ko-lin Chin, published January 2007 by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice. Based on research undertaken between July 2003 and August 2004.

21 April 2007

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 saying his 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.

19 April 2007

Organized Crime in Darfur

According to the Interim report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan (5.4 Mb! Word doc) organized crime and acts of banditry have now become a source of livelihood for the many groups operating in Darfur and in other neighbouring States. Information received by the Panel indicates that some organized armed groups in Darfur levy taxes or payments on merchants operating between the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the Sudan. The payments are made to these groups as protection money. Failure to pay these amounts to loss of their goods and transporting vehicles.

Interpol-UNODC Global Congress to address International Financial Crime issues

Money laundering, terrorism financing and corruption are among the key issues scheduled for discussion at the Global Financial Crime Congress jointly organized by Interpol and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The three-day Congress aims to identify and assess the latest developments, technologies and strategies which are working in combating financial crime, in addition to finding new solutions and opportunities to enhance co-operation between and among law enforcement and the private sector. Ronald K. Noble, Interpol's Secretary General held the opening speech.

Japan: Mayor of Nagasaki slain by an organized crime figure

TOKYO -- The mayor of the Japanese city of Nagasaki was shot to death by an organized crime chief apparently enraged that the city refused to compensate him after his car was damaged at a public works construction site, police said.
The shooting was rare in a country where handguns are strictly banned and only five politicians are known to have been killed since World War II. Tetsuya Shiroo, a senior member of Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest organized crime syndicate, was wrestled to the ground by officers after the attack and arrested.

17 April 2007

Methods and Motives: Exploring Links between Transnational Organized Crime & International Terrorism

The nexus with transnational organized crime is increasingly a focus for security planners in their analyses of terror groups. Their approach is best described by the phrase “methods, not motives.” While the mo- tives of terrorists and organized criminals remain divergent most often, our research indicates this is not always the case. For that reason, this report argues that such a general approach has become too restrictive and can be misleading since the interaction between terrorism and organized crime is growing deeper and more complex all the time. In short, the lines of separation are no longer unequivocal.

The report analyzes the relationship between international organized crime and terrorism in a systematic way in order to highlight the shortcomings of the “methods, not motives” argument. In so doing, the re- port considers the factors that most closely correspond to crime-terror interaction and identifies those regions of developed and developing states most likely to foster such interactions. Likewise, the paper will suggest an evolutionary spectrum of crime-terror interactions that serves as a common basis for discussion of such often-used terms as “nexus.”

The report is the product of a recently concluded and peer-reviewed 18-month NIJ-sponsored research project, and includes empirical evidence drawn from numerous case studies developed in the course of the research program.

14 April 2007

India: Fight against organised crime on

The tit-for-tat violence involving Kazhakuttom-based gangs had claimed at least three lives in the past one-year. Several others were injured in revenge attacks carried out by hit squads wielding swords and country-made bombs. The inter-gang violence that spiralled out of control had triggered a sense of insecurity among residents and traders. However, the Thiruvananthapuram city police are viewing the arrest of `Karate' Suresh on Wednesday as a step forward in the fight against organised crime.

Australia: Crime groups aim for finance sector

Organised crime networks could infiltrate the mainstream financial sector to run money-laundering schemes from inside legitimate financial institutions, Australia's federal anti-money laundering agency is warning.

UK: Crime agency chief values partnership in money-laundering fight

A growing partnership between the private sector and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) is helping to improve the efficiency of the government's money-laundering controls, Sir Stephen Lander, the agency's chairman, has said.

09 April 2007

US: Coordination of information against organised shoplifters

As organized shoplifting costs the industry an estimated $30 billion a year and the involved crime rings are becoming more sophisticated, the FBI and retailers have joined together to support the Law Enforcement Retail Partnership Network, or LERPnet.

04 April 2007

Drug trafficking through Azerbaijan

An Azeri news site reported an interesting drug trafficking route: Iran - Azerbaijan - Russia - Japan. Pity the whole route is not more accurately described.

The Real "Sopranos": New York's Five Families

When the writers of “The Sopranos” needed inspiration, all they had to do was look to New York’s Cosa Nostra – the Five Families. From Charles “Lucky” Luciano, father of modern organized crime, to Junior Gotti who’s trying to shake off his notorious mob ties, here’s a snapshot of the Families – and the faces – that matter.

03 April 2007

Organized crime trial moved after small explosions damage Amsterdam court building

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: The extortion trial of an alleged Amsterdam underworld figure was moved to a new venue Monday after explosions damaged the top-security court building where the case had been due to start. Security shutters were damaged and windows smashed in the explosions at 3 a.m. (0200 GMT) but there were no injuries, according to a police statement.

"Everything is being done to ensure today's case can go ahead," the statement said. The cause of the explosions was being investigated but there were no immediate arrests. Justice officials said later that the case would be moved — for Monday at least — to a court room at another building in Amsterdam. By early afternoon, the case still had not started. The decision was based on "security concerns," said court spokeswoman Jacqueline Dubois.

Willem Holleeder — previously convicted in the 1983 kidnapping of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken — is accused of extorting money from four businessmen in Amsterdam. He denies the charges.

"What has happened is annoying for him, because he just wants to get on with his case," Holleeder's attorney, Jan-Hein Kuijpers told the national broadcaster's Radio 1. "Nobody wants this kind of thing. I don't know in whose interest it is to damage the building."

The court room hit by Monday's explosions was built on an industrial zone in eastern Amsterdam in the late 1990s and has hosted several high-profile organized-crime and terror trials, including that of the Islamic extremist who murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

The Associated Press
Published: April 2, 2007