News / Asia

UN: Asia's Transnational Criminal Profits Dwarf GDP

Government worker slashes counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbag during ceremonial destruction of fakes goods seized in raids, Manila, Philippines, June 30, 2011.
Government worker slashes counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbag during ceremonial destruction of fakes goods seized in raids, Manila, Philippines, June 30, 2011.
Daniel Schearf
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime says criminal groups in East Asia and the Pacific are earning $90 billion annually, most of it from narcotics, fake goods, illegal wood and wildlife, and smuggling people.
 
According to the UNODC study released Tuesday, “Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific, a Threat Assessment," well-organized crime syndicates, reaching suppliers in Africa and markets across Asia, Europe and North America, boast criminal earnings that dwarf some economies in the region.
 
"It accounts for approximately 90 billion U.S. dollars a year, which, just to put it in perspective, represents two times the size of the GDP of Myanmar, eight times the GDP of Cambodia, and 13 times the GDP of Lao P.D.R.," said Giovanni Broussard, a Bangkok-based UNODC program officer who drafted chapters of the report.
 
The study says combined sales of heroin and methamphetamines account for more than a third of criminal proceeds in the region, netting roughly $16.3 billion and $15 billion respectively.
 
Most of the heroin is produced in Burma and sold to buyers in China and Southeast Asia. Both Burma and China are also major manufacturers and exporters of methamphetamines.
 
Broussard says efforts to crack down on Afghanistan's opium production for heroin led farmers in Burma to increase production.
 
"That's why we are strongly encouraging countries to work together when devising these strategies ... that repression of one [criminal] activity in one country might have detrimental effect on the neighboring country.
 
Throughout the report, China emerges as one of the most significant players in transnational crime. Counterfeit goods made in China and sold to Europe and the United States make up the single largest illegal industry, amounting to more than $24 billion annually.
 
Fake medicines, mainly from China and India, are found throughout Southeast Asia and as far as Africa, risking dangerous health consequences. The UNODC cites forensic studies showing an average of 47 percent of anti-malarial medicines tested in Southeast Asia were found to be fraudulent.
 
Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks which were recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur December 11, 2012.Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks which were recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur December 11, 2012.
x
Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks which were recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur December 11, 2012.
Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks which were recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur December 11, 2012.
China is also the largest consumer of illegal and endangered wildlife, much of it poached from Indonesia, the Philippines, Burma, Laos and Cambodia.
 
Asia's growing demand for traditional medicine and trinkets is also driving poaching of rhinos and elephants in Africa.
 
Broussard says there is also evidence that African poachers are looking for replacements of Southeast Asian wildlife nearing extinction.
 
"We have seen through 2012 more and more episodes of seizures of the African version of … the scaly anteaters, being poached in Africa and seized in maybe one of the transit countries en route to China, [such as] Vietnam," he said.
 
The study estimates more than 30 percent of the region's wood products, a $17 billion industry, were illegally sourced in 2010 and that China and Indonesia are the largest exporters, annually selling an estimated $7 billion and $6 billion respectively.
 
Broussard says efforts to prevent organized crime will fail without China's help and cooperation.
 
"China is certainly a key player," he said. "The size of the country and the growth of its economy makes it certainly a key player in this region. No effective response can be devised in Southeast Asia and the Pacific without the involvement of China."
 
The UNODC says although human trafficking and migrant smuggling are relatively small in dollar terms, about $2 billion annually, damage done to victims is immeasurable.
 
The study notes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is set to establish an economic community by 2015 to facilitate the free flow of labor, goods and investment, but it warns the economic community will also make possible the increased mobility of illegal goods.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid