Australia re-signs landmark deal with China

Taskforce Blaze re-signing

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has welcomed the renewal of Taskforce Blaze until 2020 and the Joint Agency Arrangement on Economic Crime Cooperation with Chinese law enforcement agencies, as well as the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Chinese National Commission of Supervision (NCS) on anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin, who travelled to China for the signing yesterday, said the continuation of these agreements demonstrates the shared commitment by the AFP and Chinese law enforcement agencies to an enduring and productive relationship in tackling serious and organised criminal enterprises.

“Since its inception in November 2015, Taskforce Blaze has yielded significant and positive results with more than 20 tonnes of narcotics and precursor chemicals cumulatively seized,” Commissioner Colvin said.

“Methamphetamine consumption in Australia is significant – the second highest in the OECD world – so the continuation of Blaze ensures our shared partnership with China continues to be an integral part of the solution to what is a very complex transnational problem”.

“Taskforce Blaze has had a number of successful prosecutions in Australia which could not have been possible without the inclusion of Chinese evidence comprising drug samples, forensic reports and testimony from Chinese Police officers.”

“It will build upon the existing intelligence sharing arrangements and further strengthen the cooperation, and abilities of law enforcement in the region to eradicate the source of drugs and obstruct ice trafficking channels.”

Taskforce Blaze is the fourth phase of this historic agreement between the AFP and the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) to combat the manufacture and exportation of ice.

WEI Xiao Jun, Deputy Secretary-General of NNCC and Deputy Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau of Ministry of Public Security (MPS) commented that:

“Since the Sino-Australian Joint Narcotics Control Taskforce commenced in 2015, both countries law enforcement agencies have worked together under the principles of flexibility and practicality, effectiveness and accessibility, working through challenges, and cooperating to reach mutually beneficial outcomes.

“We have exchanged intelligence, conducted expanded joint operations and made significant breakthroughs in eradicating drug sources, interdicting trafficking channels, arresting drug traffickers, dismantling drug syndicates, and confiscating drug funds. This brings a positive impact to not only both countries but also this region’s drug situation. This taskforce has become a role model for law enforcement and mutual legal assistance, proving that even with different social and judicial systems we can work together effectively.

I hope both parties can further work closely in 2019 Sino-Australian joint narcotics control taskforce, continuously enhance the work capability, and make bigger contributions to the wellbeing of the people, and the safety and stability of both countries and the wider region .”

The AFP also welcomes the re-signing of the Joint Agency Arrangement on Economic Crime Cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security.

“The AFP wants to ensure Australia is not a safe haven for multinational drug criminals and their proceeds of crime; the AFP will continue to provide law enforcement cooperation where possible and within Australia’s legal framework,” Commissioner Colvin said.

Collectively, investigations have resulted in more than AUD$15.7 million in restrained assets in Australia deemed to be proceeds of economic crime from China.

The signing of the MOU with NCS presents a significant opportunity for the AFP to recover criminal assets in Australia. The Agreement will have a strong deterrent effect and send a clear message that Australia is not a safe haven for corrupt officials from China and their proceeds of crime.

Next year is the 20th anniversary of the AFP Office in Beijing and the Guangzhou Office has been open for 10 years. The AFP’s partnership with China has achieved success across a range of transnational serious and organised crimes impacting on each country and communities.

Taskforce Blaze drugs seized:

Collaborative efforts between the AFP and Chinese authorities have continued to bring operational benefits with seizures now consisting of the following:

Australian Statistics - up to 25 October 2018, the AFP has:

  • Cooperated on 100 AFP investigations with Chinese authorities
  • Seized approximately 10,853kg (in excess of 10 tonnes) of drugs and precursors
  • During these investigations the AFP seized more than $2 million in proceeds of crime.

Chinese Statistics - up to 25 October 2018, Chinese authorities have:

  • Undertaken 44 investigations
  • Seized approximately 9879.83kg (in excess of nine tonnes) of drugs and precursors

Taskforce Blaze significant operations:

Joint Agency Arrangement on Economic Crime Cooperation significant operations:

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