Australian-Chinese taskforce seizes 13 tons of drugs

Xinhua
A joint operation between Australian and Chinese authorities has prevented 13 tons of illicit drugs from reaching Australia, it was announced on Thursday.
Xinhua
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A joint operation between Australian and Chinese authorities has prevented 13 tons of illicit drugs from reaching Australia, it was announced on Thursday.

Michael Keenan, Australia's justice minister, praised Operation Blaze, a joint operation between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and China's National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC), as "one of the most successful collaborations (Australia has) at the moment."

The AFP/NNCC taskforce is based in Guangzhou and has seized more than 13 tons of illegal drugs bound for Australia during its operating period.

Keenan's comments came as an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) report released on Thursday estimated that organized crime in Australia cost the taxpayer 28.4 billion U.S. dollars every year.

Nicole Rose, acting head of ACIC, said that organized crime sydnicates could work with prospective terrorists to carry out attacks on Australian soil.

"Serious and organized criminals control illicit markets that terrorists may seek to access to enable acts of terrorism," Rose wrote in the report.

"Links have been observed -between serious and organized crime and persons of interest to counter-terrorism investigations."

She said that international collaboration between agencies, such as that between the AFP and NNCC, was crucial in bringing the syndicates to justice.

The report also warned that Australian authorities should be prepared for a surge in cocaine imports.

Keenan said the report highlighted an effort by underworld figures to target Australia's superannuation schemes and financial market.

He said that organized crime cost the average Australian 1,233 U.S. dollars annually and that it raised the cost of living by 6.3 percent.

"Organized crime diverts large amounts of money from the Australian economy into the pockets of criminals," Keenan told reporters on Thursday.

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