A productive year for Royal Brunei Police Force

RBPF Guard of Honour during the 90th Police Day Parade celebration held at Police Training Centre Parade Ground, Police HQ Gadong. Picture: BT/Yusri Adanan

Sunday, January 16, 2011

THIS year marks the 90th anniversary of the formation of one of the oldest government agencies in this country the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF).

Since its official formation in 1921, many important and significant events had taken place throughout Brunei history as well as internationally.

Today the RBPF made its presence felt globally especially when it became a member of the International Criminal Police Organisation since September 4, 1984, during the 53rd general assembly session in Luxembourg.

Over the years Interpol National Central Bureau Brunei (NCB Brunei) has cooperated with various other member countries around the globe and has been dynamically involved in Interpol's mission to prevent and combat international crime.

All Interpol member countries have I-24/7 a secure communication and database system. NCB Brunei utilises I-24/7 a secure communication system as a formal medium of requesting assistance from member countries.

The use of other facilities in I-24/7 also enables respective NCBs to exercise assistance and most often have contributed to arrests of criminals in overseas countries.

One of the more frequent collaborations are between NCB Brunei and NCB Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to which Brunei has successfully brought to justice several wanted persons in connection to local crimes.

Malaysian national, Wong Peng Wai, fled Brunei in 2001 absconding with his employer's company money amounting to $60,000 as well as several thousands worth of debts to the company from incomplete projects.

A warrant of arrest (out of jurisdiction) was issued against Wong, to which a request for Red Notice (Notice of Wanted Person in View of Extradition) was applied by NCB Brunei, later approved by Interpol and notified to NCB Kuala Lumpur.

Sheer persistence of investigators and frequent correspondence via I-24/7 with NCB Kuala Lumpur and various exchanges of information lead to the location of Wong in Johor, Malaysia, in January 2010. He was subsequently arrested, extradited to Brunei and brought to court where he was charged with Criminal Breach of Trust to property Being Entrusted under Section 406, Chapter 22 Penal Code, and was immediately sent to prison to serve his sentence.

In another case, through Interpol red Notice request (Notice of wanted Persons in View of Extradition), Malaysian National Hasri Mohd Noor, one of the three directors of Pan Phoenix Dina (B) Sdn Bhd was finally brought to court on August 7 last year.

After failing to appear for the first hearing on April 13, 2009, a Warrant of Arrest (Out of Jurisdiction) was issued against Hasri, to which a request for Red Notice (Notice of Wanted person in View of Extradition) was applied by NCB Brunei, later approved by Interpol and notified to NCB Kuala Lumpur.

He was then sentenced to multi-year jail terms by the High Court and the company was ordered to pay $130,000 towards prosecution costs in Brunei's landmark financial fraud case involving illegal deposit taking of more than $5 million.

He has been sentenced to six years, four years and three years' imprisonment respectively, pleading guilty to taking deposits amounting to $5,775,000 from 269 people between March and September 2007 without a licence to carry out banking activities. The company itself was also fined $10,000 by the High Court. Hasri is also facing charges for similar offences in the Malaysian state of Kelantan and Kuala Lumpur.

Contributing to safety measures of Brunei passports

Passport forgeries along with identity theft are one of the biggest problems plaguing countries and international travellers from all over the world.

Counterfeits are used, to illegally enter a country. They also can be used to open a fraudulent bank account, steal someone's identity and fly abroad. Abuse of passports and the rights they entitle puts those who use them legally in very real danger.

NCB Brunei contributes to a significant safety measure of Brunei passports through one of the tools provided by Interpol, that is the Interpol Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) Database, in which NCB Brunei registers all reported stolen or lost Brunei passport into this database.

Overall, border control officials from the world have made over 300 million searches of the SLTD Database as nations become increasingly aware of its value in catching criminals, who often travel using falsified passports.

NCB Brunei has registered 318 stolen and lost travel documents for the year 2010, which saw a 19.5 per cent increase to total number registered SLTDs since 2009.

Globally traceable stolen vehicles

Vehicle crime is a highly organised criminal activity affecting the whole world.

It has been clearly established that it is often linked to organised crime and terrorism.

The vehicles are not only stolen for their sake; sometimes they are trafficked to finance other crimes. They can also be used as bomb carriers or in the perpetration of other crimes.

To address the growing trend of vehicle theft in the nation, in 2010 Brunei began registering all stolen vehicles into the Interpol Stolen Vehicle (SMV) Database. As of December 2010, total of 100 stolen motor vehicles have been registered into the system.

Registering SMVs into the SMV Database will enable other member countries to cross check vehicles coming in through their land border checkpoints, as well a vehicles that are being imported.

In addition, Brunei has been a member of Asean Chiefs of Police (Aseanopol) since 1984. Annually, Asean Chiefs of Police together with a delegation of their key senior police officers meet for a conference that is hosted in turn amongst its members.

A technological landmark for Aseanopol this year is the establishment of an integrated link between Interpol database system and the electronic Aseanopol Database System (eADS).

This link enables Aseanopol member countries to enter data on Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTDs) and Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMVs) through a single entry point.

Courtesy of Royal Brunei Police Force