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Countering Emerging Threats and Challenges of Transnational Organized Crime from Thailand's Perspective in the Context of the ASEAN Community - January 2021

This report on Thailand represents a milestone in assessing the risks, strengths and gaps to prevent and counter transnational organized crime, in particular linked to the economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) through the introduction in 2015 of the ASEAN Economic Community. Free trade, including the movement of people, goods, capital, labour and investments, have exponentially increased the socio-economic growth of the ASEAN community. New opportunities and development, however, are often exploited by organized criminal groups to infiltrate economies and take advantage of enhanced connectivity.

This report highlights the trends of transnational organized crime in Thailand, focusing on several areas spanning from trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants to money laundering; trafficking of drugs, firearms, wildlife and timber, hazardous waste and chemicals; environmental crimes; the nexus between organized crime and violent extremism; and counterfeiting and forgery. It identifies the different typologies of offenders and the way they operate domestically or transnationally, with a focus on their modus operandi according to their different criminal enterprises. With a thorough analysis of issues and effective strategies, it presents a solid framework to lead the way towards the development of short- and long-term approaches that can be useful to Thailand and the broader ASEAN region. 

In particular, the report promotes a more cohesive system of regional cooperation to enhance preparation and coordination on security matters and legal reforms, thus harmonizing the laws across the ASEAN region and making international cooperation more efficient. Consistency in and harmonization of policies, laws and procedures and a shared understanding of common challenges are fundamental to tackle the growing threat of transnational organized crime. An important concept underlined in the report is that economic integration should include public security measures within economic development programmes.

This publication is the result of a collaboration between the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ).

UNICRI and the TIJ dedicate this report to the memory of Cindy J. Smith, former Director of UNICRI. Distinguished scholar, inspiring teacher, beloved colleague. She strongly supported this study and contributed to its preparation.