At the meeting, the ASEAN member countries highly appreciated the Philippines for its efforts in hosting the SOMTC-20 online in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby demonstrating the responsiveness and adaptability to the situation as well as solidarity, unity and strong determination of the ASEAN countries.
The delegates shared information about the situation and challenges of transnational crime in each country and region in the new context, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the pandemic had a huge impact on all aspects of society and increased risks to vulnerable people, especially the elderly, women and children.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced governments of countries to take social distancing measures hindering production and business activities. The increased unemployment rate led to various problems in terms of social security, order and crime control. While the international community is focusing on pandemic control, any neglect of security and order will create instability, even social crisis.
On behalf of the Vietnamese delegation, Lt. Gen. Nguyen Thanh Son emphasized that hi-tech criminals made use of cyberspace to commit crimes during the social distancing and online working period. According to the Vietnamese official, fake news and false information related to the pandemic caused public anxiety and left negative impacts on security and social order. A sharp increase in e-commerce and e-banking transactions during the period of lockdown also created favorable conditions for hi-tech criminals to commit crimes in cyberspace. In fact, hi-tech cases, in which criminals used new methods and tricks, surged in terms of both number and scale.
At the same time, smuggling of medical supplies and trading of fake or low-quality goods, particularly essential medical items and devices for the COVID-19 prevention became complicated.
Vietnam called on every ASEAN country to build trust and promote high-level information exchange between ASEAN law enforcement agencies. Particularly, the ASEAN countries should continue to maintain and strengthen cooperation in the fight against transnational crimes, enhance exchange of information, crime situation, and trends of crime while opening joint investigation and campaigns against transnational criminal gangs in the region.
As the host of the 14th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime and related conferences (to be held in November 2020), the Vietnamese MPS commits to coordinate actively with the law enforcement agencies of ASEAN countries in dealing with security issues regionally and globally. The Vietnamese MPS continues its efforts for a united, resilient ASEAN Community as well as for peace, stability and prosperity of all member countries and the region as a whole.