SINGAPORE: Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean said cybercrime is one of the transnational crimes ASEAN countries need to tackle.

Mr Teo, who was speaking at the opening of the 11th ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC), urged ASEAN countries to focus on keeping secure cyber networks and infocomm infrastructure.

Mr Teo also suggested setting up joint investigation teams to better understand the relation between different types of crime as well as the link between international terrorist groups and organised crime cartels.

He said: “To move beyond its current parameters and build shared operational processes and mechanisms, to effectively check the spread of transnational criminal groups. In other words, it is time to ‘sharpen the sword’ and take the fight to the syndicates on the ground.”

Mr Teo added drug trafficking, human trafficking and economic crimes are some priority areas.

“Take for example drug trafficking. In some regions of the world, the situation is so bad that the drug cartels act with impunity, leading to very high levels of violence and drug-related crime,” he said.

Heroin continues to be the major drug threat in the region, but methamphetamine, commonly know as “meth” or “Ice” is becoming a serious issue.

“Meth” seized in the region now accounts for about half of the drug’s global seizures.

A total of 14 meetings will be held during the five-day SOMTC in Singapore, which ends on Friday. Seven dialogue partners including countries such as the US, Russia and China will also share different sets of operating norms and practices during the meetings. -CNA/ac