Southeast Asian nations participate in chemical and explosives prevention conference

Southeast Asian law enforcement, government, customs and industry officials recently attended an INTERPOL chemical and explosives terrorism prevention conference in Thailand.

The conference, which took place from June 17-20, was intended to improve response and investigational capacity while boosting regional preparedness for chemical and explosives incidents. Representatives from seven countries, including the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, participated in the conference.

"These types of terrorist threats not only pose tremendous risks to public safety at the national level, but also severely affect economic and political stability at the regional and global levels," Police Lieutenant General Panya Mamen, a provincial commissioner with the Royal Thai Police, said.

INTERPOL's Chemical and Explosives (ChemEx) Terrorism Prevention unit and the Thai Royal Police organized the conference. Presentations, scenario-based workshops and field exercises taught participants how to identify and neutralize improvised explosive and chemical devices. The conference also covered how to investigate and measure the risk posed by the illegal diversion of chemical agents.

"Education and awareness programs targeting government authorities, police services and the chemical industry should also form a cornerstone of global chemical terrorism prevention efforts," Ian Rotsey, the coordinator of the ChemEx Terrorism Prevention unit, said

The regional conference was supported by international organizations including the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.