Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR October 2010 Contents 28 | Asia Pacific Defence Reporter
These two business practices are complementary, and enable the broad
degree of transnational criminal penetration to be judged. The results are
not encouraging: The Melanesian nations are thoroughly penetrated, to
the extent that their governance is increasingly unable to deliver even basic
services. The Solomons was the first Pacific nation to fail as a state, due in
no small part to the effect of transnational crime. Micronesia is (overall)
the least affected as of 2010, but some islands are deeply compromised.
Polynesia lies between Melanesia and Micronesia, but is so far unique
in being the only region with its own homegrown transnational criminal
The business intent of all transnational crime is to neutralise law
enforcement opposition, co-opt sections of government and either create
a monopoly market for illegal goods, or to create a smooth passage for an
illegal goods supply chain. As described in Part 1, they also desire legal
businesses so as to hide their illegal businesses, provide for their logistics
needs and launder their profits. This demands access to co-opted elements
of the local legal services sector.
This integrated business model automatically generates a full-spectrum
attack on governance, government revenue and the local economy. The
impact of this sort of transnational criminal activity on a Pacific island
country’s society is devastating.
The impacts include but are not limited to the following:
This reduces government revenue and degrades public services. In turn,
this retards national development. A vicious cycle of corruption and
reducing government service delivery is instituted.
order to survive. As the locals are driven from business, violence tends
to increase. This is especially prevalent in PNG, where the standard
business run by locals, small local shops and food bars, have been largely
replaced by small shops run by illegal Chinese immigrants in thrall to
transnational organised crime groups. These people have little intention
of remaining, and they remit profits overseas.
starving the government of income, wrecking local savings and
The result is that a vicious spiral develops which places the country on the
road to collapse. These countries are generally fragile and aid dependent,
and cannot survive this sort of impact. The result of the failure of the state,
as seen in the Solomon Islands.
COMBATING TRANSNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME
These criminal businesses cannot be fought if they are not understood.
It is especially important to understand their local structure. Once
understood, their legal and illegal operations can be disrupted. However,
traditional intra jurisdiction policing is ineffective once the local police
have been corrupted.
A regional, multi-national, sophisticated effort at addressing this issue
was developed by the Australian Howard Government, working through
the Pacific Islands Forum. This is the Pacific Transnational Crime Network
or PTCN. However, this is not sufficient, and it is plain that targeted
external intervention under Pacific Islands Forum auspices is demanded
where states have failed or are in the process of collapse. The situation in
the Pacific has reached the state where no law enforcement response can
address the threat. A whole-of-nation and whole-of region response under
Pacific Islands Forum auspices is needed.
How did it get to this?
RAAF distributing medical aid in PNG Credit: ADF
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