Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa and his counterpart General Le Hong Anh, Minister of Public Security of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam have signed a Letter of Intent on police cooperation between the two countries.
Mthethwa’ office in a statement said the discussions centred on a desire to further promote cooperation between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in preventing, combating and investigating crime, recognising the importance of international cooperation in combating transnational organized crime.
“We further agreed to enhance various ways of consolidating and exchanging of working experience, information necessary to combat crime as well as exploring further mechanisms to cooperate,” the minister sad in the statement. “We shall assist each other in the field of combating crime in accordance with the domestic law of our countries as well as our international obligations,” he added.
The Vietnamese minister echoed the same sentiments in relation to cooperating in the investigation of organised crimes facing both countries. “We believe it is important that both South Africa and Vietnam cooperate in preventing, combating and investigating crime, including, but not limited to organized crime, including organized environmental crime and corruption.”
This signed Letter of Intent further encompasses cooperation of trafficking in stolen goods, including motor vehicles, diamond trafficking, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons and money laundering. It also includes illicit trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, toxic substances, including nuclear, chemical and biological materials.
Criminal syndicates globally are becoming sophisticated but through this cooperation, law enforcement agencies from both countries will be able to apprehend such syndicates. “We are also intent on cooperating in the areas of production and sale of forged banknotes, securities, identity documents and other forged or falsified documents. We shall also work together around cyber crime, crimes related to intellectual property rights as well as crimes related to child pornography,” added Mthethwa.
“One of the crucial issues discussed during this morning’s meeting centred on the public order policing,” the statement added. Both ministries undertook to cooperate in this field and training of staff. They shall also cooperate in preventing and suppressing terrorist acts in accordance with the domestic law in force in their countries and their international obligations. Both ministries shall also exchange information on working experience in respect of criminology, police and forensic sciences, including personnel training courses and victim support programmes. Furthermore working closely to assist each other during investigations and searching for persons who are evading criminal prosecution or execution of a sentence and also for persons who are reported missing.
“We also intend to exchange information relating to crimes which are being planned or have been committed and relating to persons and organisations involved in such crimes. Furthermore, exchange information on persons involved in organized crime, their linkages, the structure of the criminal groups and their modus operandi,” concluded Le Hong Anh.
Noteworthy is that the statement makes no mention of the scourge of rhino poaching. Some 333 rhinos were killed in South African parks 2010, 122 in 2009 and 83 in 2008, versus only ten being killed in South Africa’s parks in 2007. Some 159 have already been gunned down this year. The surge in the number of rhinos killed follows an increase in the demand for rhino horn in Vietnamese and Chinese traditional medicine, despite the fact that the horn contains no medicinal properties as it consists of keratin, the same material human finger nails and hair is made up of. Researchers say that some people in Vietnam believe that rhino horn can cure cancer. As Asia’s rhino population has been pushed to the brink of extinction by hunting and deforestation, consumers have been looking to South Africa to meet their demands.
According to the WWF, South Africa has more than 80% of Africa’s total rhino population. Former Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Buyelwa Sonjica, last year said South Africa had around 19 000 white and 1750 black rhinos.