Chapter 2. Country Reports: East Asia and Pacific Overview
Throughout 2010, key countries in East Asia and the Pacific achieved significant counterterrorism successes through multilateral cooperation, capacity building, popular support, and political will. In February, Indonesian authorities, alerted by local residents, raided a terrorist training camp in Aceh and arrested over 120 suspected terrorists, who had come together from a variety of Indonesian extremist organizations. Indonesian prosecutors secured convictions for 11 terrorists connected with the fatal 2009 Jakarta hotel bombings and several detainees from the Aceh camp. The number of “reformed” convicts arrested at the Aceh camp highlighted the need for more effective counter radicalization and prison reform programs. Law enforcement agencies in Malaysia and Singapore were effective in identifying and detaining terrorist suspects, and cooperated with each other and with the international community on counterterrorism. In September, Malaysia extradited Jemaah Islamiya terrorist, Mas Selamat Kastari, to Singapore, from where he had escaped incarceration in 2008.
Philippine security forces continued to combat terrorists principally in the southern Philippines. On February 21, prominent Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-commander Albader Parad and five other ASG militants in Jolo were killed. ASG attacks included an April 13 bombing in Isabela City, Basilan, which killed nine outside a cathedral.
The United States continued to partner with countries in the region through diplomacy, bilateral security cooperation, multilateral organizations, and capacity building to support counterterrorism efforts. In May, the United States and the People’s Republic of China held bilateral counterterrorism consultations in Beijing. In November, the United States hosted bilateral counterterrorism consultations with the Republic of Korea. In December, the annual Trilateral Strategic Dialogue Counterterrorism Consultations with the United States, Australia, and Japan took place in Melbourne, Australia.
Overview: On February 23, the Government of Australia released the Counterterrorism White Paper outlining Australia's counterterrorism strategy. The strategy has four key elements: Analysis, Protection, Response, and Resilience. Additional funding was announced for a counter-radicalization program. The National Terrorism Public Alert System level remained at medium, indicating that a terrorist attack could occur.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: In October 2009, five Sydney men, arrested as part of a series of raids in 2005, were found guilty of plotting terrorist attacks. On February 15, they were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 23 to 28 years. The Australian Attorney-General noted that the trial extended over nearly one year and involved approximately 300 witnesses, 3,000 exhibits, and 30 days of surveillance evidence.
In February, the government announced the creation of the Counterterrorism Control Center (composed of the Australia Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the Australian Federal Police and Defense Signals Directorate) to coordinate counterterrorism activities; it was officially opened on October 21.
In March, parliament passed the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Bill 2010 that appoints an Independent Monitor to help ensure counterterrorism laws strike an appropriate balance between protecting the community and human rights.
Between July 2009 and June 2010, ASIO identified "several Australians" seeking contact with extremist religious figures overseas, and issued eight adverse security assessments against Australian passport holders, which "reflected an increase in the number of Australians identified as seeking to travel overseas for terrorism-related activities." ASIO reported that a number of Australians made contact with extremist figures in Yemen and "Australians resident in Yemen have also participated in terrorism-related activity." During this period, ASIO issued 14 adverse assessments against visa applicants on counterterrorism grounds.
In November, parliament passed the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill, which includes new powers for police to enter premises without a warrant in emergency circumstances; establishing a seven day limit on the amount of time a terrorism suspect can be held, without charges; expanding counterterrorism laws to apply to those who incite violence on the basis of race, religion, ethnic origin, and political opinion; extending the expiration period of regulations proscribing a terrorist organization from two to three years; amending the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 so that national security and counterterrorism court proceedings may be expedited; and creating parliamentary oversight of the Australian Federal Police and Australian Crime Commission.
On December 23, three Melbourne men were found guilty of conspiring to plan a terrorist act at Sydney’s Holsworthy Army Base in 2009. The Attorney-General said the prosecution was the result of a complex joint investigation involving state and federal police cooperation with the intelligence community.
Australia listed 19 groups as terrorist organizations. Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula was listed for the first time and al-Qa'ida, Jemaah Islamiya, al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb, Abu Sayyaf Group, al-Qa'ida in Iraq, and Jamiat ul-Ansar were re-listed in 2010.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority was investigating Hizballah’s al-Manar television station’s program content to determine its compliance with regulatory obligations relating to terrorist-related content, as well as racial vilification and hate speech.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Australia’s laws make it a criminal offense to hold assets that are owned or controlled by terrorist organizations or individuals sanctioned under UNSCR 1267. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC) acts as Australia's money-laundering and counterterrorist financing regulator. AUSTRAC continued to fund capacity building technical assistance programs in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.
To better coordinate and exchange financial information, the government launched the Criminal Intelligence Fusion Center within the Australian Crime Commission in July 2010. The center co-located expert investigators and analysts from AUSTRAC and other government agencies. On November 11, the government released proposals to strengthen regulation of businesses providing international cash transfer services.
Regional and International Cooperation: Australian multilateral engagement continued in a wide range of forums. Australia has counterterrorism memoranda of understanding with Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, and the United Arab Emirates. Australia continued to provide legal drafting assistance to regional states seeking to adopt international conventions and protocols against terrorism, and to bring their law codes into conformity with these conventions. Australia was instrumental in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s efforts to update the Montreal and Hague Conventions, resulting in the successful conclusion of two new counterterrorism instruments in Beijing.
Australia and the United States exchanged information using APEC's Regional Movement Alert System. Australia has biometric data-sharing arrangements with the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and New Zealand.
From March to August 2010, Australia's largest ever national counterterrorism exercise, Mercury 10, was held across Australia. The “deployment phase” was conducted in late August. It was the first to include another country, with the involvement of New Zealand. In November, Australia and Malaysia established a bilateral counterterrorism working group. In December, Australia hosted the Ninth Annual Trilateral Security Dialogue Counterterrorism consultations with the United States and Japan.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The government funded projects encouraging tolerance of religious diversity. In November, the government announced approximately US$ 9.7 million to fund a youth mentoring program as part of a program to address radicalization.
Overview: Cambodia’s political leadership has demonstrated a strong commitment to taking legal action against terrorists and, since the passage in 2007 of separate laws on terrorism and terrorist financing, the Government of Cambodia has remained committed to strengthening its counterterrorism capability through training and international cooperation.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: In September, the Cambodian National Counterterrorism Committee (NCTC) took delivery of an Emergency Communication Vehicle system, which strengthens response capabilities by enabling communications in the event of failed power and telecommunications systems. Cambodia continued to process travelers on entry and departure at two international airports and three land border sites with the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES).
Regional and International Cooperation: In June, Cambodia became the fourth ASEAN member state to ratify the ASEAN Convention on Counterterrorism. In July, Cambodia hosted a large-scale multinational peacekeeping exercise as part of the U.S.-UN 2010 Global Peace Operations Initiative. In September, the NCTC hosted the Pacific Area Sector Working Group with representatives from the partner nations of ASEAN. The workshop provided a forum for increasing cooperation on counterterrorism, disaster management, and information sharing in a multilateral, interagency environment.
In July, Cambodian authorities arrested two Thai nationals and returned them to Thailand, where they faced criminal charges for their alleged role in detonating a grenade outside the headquarters office of a political party. Cambodian officials pointed to the arrests and repatriation, which took place despite then-fractious ties between Cambodia and Thailand, as an indicator of Cambodia’s commitment to cross-border cooperation on terrorism.
Countering Terrorist Finance: While the Cambodian government made some progress in strengthening its counterterrorist finance regime, it is subject to prima facie review by the Financial Action Task Force’s International Cooperation Review Group for apparent deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance regime. The Financial Intelligence Unit, which operates within the framework of the National Bank of Cambodia, conducted on-site examinations of banks and financial institutions to gauge their implementation of measures designed to counter terrorist financing and money laundering.
Overview: China held counterterrorism military exercises with Thailand in October, participated in regional counterterrorism exercises with Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states in September, and provided equipment to Pakistan for counterterrorism training in May. China's domestic counterterrorism efforts remained primarily focused against the East Turkistan Islamic Party (ETIP), also known as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). In January 2010, ETIP released videos in Uighur, a Turkic language indigenous to China’s western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), to claim credit for alleged actions in revenge for the "July 5 incident" of 2009, when racially-motivated riots in the XUAR capital led to the reported deaths of both Uighurs and Han Chinese, and to call on Muslims in Xinjiang to carry out a "jihad" against China.
China does not always distinguish between legitimate political dissent and the advocacy of violence to overthrow the government, and has used counterterrorism as a pretext to suppress Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group that makes up a large percentage of the population within the XUAR.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: On August 19, three people drove an explosive-laden vehicle into a crowd in the city of Aksu, XUAR, killing three civilians and three police officers, and wounding 15 other civilians and police officers. The Chinese government attributed this incident to "separatists, extremists, and terrorists."
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The U. S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Legal Attaché’s Office in Beijing held several meetings and briefings with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) Terrorism Department on a number of terrorist-related issues. The Legal Attaché’s Office has presented specific investigations that potentially could be worked jointly between the FBI and MPS; to date, the MPS has not responded to these requests.
China participated in the Megaports program. Through provision of training and donation of radiation detection equipment, the U.S. Department of Energy improved China's capacity to detect and interdict smuggled nuclear and radiological materials in preparation for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and the 2010 Asia Games.
Countering Terrorist Finance: China has yet to develop a regime to freeze terrorist assets that meets international standards or that adequately implements UNSCRs 1267 and 1373. This was identified by China's central bank as a future priority in China's "2008-2012 National Anti-Money Laundering/Counterterrorist Financing (AML/CTF) Strategy" paper. There remained a need for better implementation and enhanced coordination between financial regulators and law enforcement authorities. U.S. agencies continued to seek expanded cooperation with Chinese counterparts on terrorist and other illicit finance matters and to strengthen both policy- and operational-level cooperation in this critical area.
Terrorist financing is a criminal offense in China. In 2010, China demonstrated progress in addressing certain deficiencies in AML/CTF. China increased the number of money-laundering investigations, prosecutions, and convictions. The central bank issued a new regulation clarifying the suspicious transaction reporting obligations of Chinese banks, as well as penalties for lack of compliance. In April, the U.S. Treasury Department and China's central bank established an AML/CTF working group under the auspices of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to provide an important channel for addressing both policy and operational cooperation. China is an active, full member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Asia-Pacific Group (APG), and the Eurasian Group, but has not joined the Egmont Group.
Regional and International Cooperation: In November, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, with his Russian and Indian counterparts, emphasized the need for full international cooperation in counterterrorism efforts, particularly within the framework of the UN, to prevent terrorist attacks and to prosecute terrorists and their supporters. In September, China hosted a diplomatic conference under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization that resulted in two new legal instruments related to civil aviation security. China signed both instruments at the conclusion of the diplomatic conference. China also ratified the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
In response to an October 2009 proposal by the United States, Chinese President Hu Jintao endorsed the joint development of a Nuclear Security Center of Excellence at the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit. The center’s functions will include training to bolster bilateral efforts to prevent terrorists, terrorist organizations, and proliferating states from accessing nuclear and radiological materials. In 2010, we had regular bilateral counterterrorism consultations with the Chinese, including at the Second Annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue, but cooperation remained limited.
Hong Kong law enforcement agencies provided full support to and cooperation with their foreign counterparts in tracing financial transactions suspected of links to terrorist activities. They participated in U.S. government-sponsored training, including terrorism investigations and complex financial investigations. Hong Kong continued its effective partnership on the Container Security Initiative. The year-old Hong Kong Police Counterterrorist Readiness Unit continued to develop capability in its mission areas of deterrence, assisting police districts with counterterrorist strategy implementation, and providing support to Hong Kong’s existing specialist units.
Terrorist financing is a criminal offense in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s financial regulatory authorities directed banks and other financial institutions to continuously search for terrorist financing networks and accounts using designations lists made by the U.S. under relevant authorities, as well as the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated lists. All entities and persons are legally required to file suspicious transactions reports (STRs) irrespective of transaction amounts involved. However, Hong Kong does not have reporting requirements for cross-border currency movements.
Hong Kong is an active member of the FATF and the (APG, a FATF-style regional body. Responding to the latest FATF and APG mutual evaluation, Hong Kong authorities in October presented draft legislation that would increase supervision of money changers and remittance agents; create statutory requirements for customer due diligence and record-keeping in the banking, securities, and insurance sectors; and establish civil penalties for violations.
Macau’s law enforcement and customs agencies participated in U.S. government-sponsored training, including bulk cash smuggling detection and investigations, terrorism investigations, and complex financial investigations. Macau’s Police Tactical Intervention Unit is responsible for protecting important installations and dignitaries, and for conducting high-risk missions, including the deactivation of improvised explosive devices.
Terrorist financing is a criminal offense in Macau. Macau’s financial regulatory authorities directed banks and other financial institutions to continuously search for terrorist financing networks and accounts using designations lists made by the U.S. under relevant authorities, as well as the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated lists. All entities and persons are legally required to file suspicious transactions reports (STRs) irrespective of transaction amounts involved. However, Macau does not have reporting requirements for cross-border currency movements.
Macau is an active member of the APG, a FATF-style regional body. Through its Financial Intelligence Office (FIO), Macau is also an active member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (NORTH KOREA)1
Overview: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1987. On October 11, 2008, the United States rescinded the designation of the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism in accordance with criteria set forth in U.S. law, including a certification that the government of the DPRK had not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-month period and the provision by the DPRK of assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.
Four Japanese Red Army members who participated in a jet hijacking in 1970 continued to live in the DPRK. The Japanese government continued to seek a full accounting of the fate of 12 Japanese nationals believed to have been abducted by DPRK state entities in the 1970s and 1980s. The DPRK has not yet fulfilled its commitment to reopen its investigations into the abductions. There also continues to be evidence of North Korean involvement in weapons proliferation, in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: In May, the United States re-certified North Korea as “not cooperating fully” with U.S. counterterrorism efforts under Section 40A of the Arms Export and Control Act, as amended. In making the annual determination on “not fully cooperating,” we undertake review of a country's overall level of cooperation in our efforts to fight terrorism, taking into account our counterterrorism objectives with that country and a realistic assessment of its capabilities.
Countering Terrorist Finance: The DPRK became a signatory to the Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism and a party to the Convention Against the Taking of Hostages in November 2001. However, there was no indication the DPRK has taken steps to counter money laundering and terrorist financing threats.
Regional and International Cooperation: The DPRK did not actively participate bilaterally or multilaterally in counterterrorism efforts in 2010.
Overview: In 2010, the Indonesian government continued to build counterterrorism capacities, successfully prosecuted a number of terrorists, and strengthened legislative efforts to counter terrorist financing. A new National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) was formally established on July 16 and President Yudhoyono swore in retired Police Inspector General Ansyaad Mbai as its head on September 7.
In February 2010, Indonesian police discovered a large paramilitary terrorist training camp in Aceh. Officials identified at least eight terrorist factions involved in the terrorist training camp. The factions included militants who trained in Mindanao in the southern Philippines, graduates of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, students, government workers, and released terrorist convicts who had undergone de-radicalization programs while in the Indonesian corrections system. Police believed the Aceh-based terrorist group intended to target Indonesian government officials, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The success of police actions following the breakup of the Aceh training camp, however, continued to demonstrate increased police capacities, including successful operations carried out with a minimum loss of life to both terrorists and civilians, though some terrorists were killed during police raids. Police captured over 120 terrorists associated with the Aceh training camp, including Abdullah Sunata, a leader of the radical group Kompak, known for its involvement in ethnic conflicts in Poso and Ambon, and Abu Tholut, a bomb maker believed to have funded the Aceh terrorist training camp. In addition, the death of a third well-known terrorist, Dulmatin, an electronics expert and bomb maker who received al-Qa’ida training in Afghanistan and was wanted in connection to the 2002 Bali bombing, brought to an end an intensive international manhunt across Southeast Asia.
The number of corrections recidivists involved in the Aceh training camp concerned the Indonesians. At least 18 recidivists were either killed or captured in police actions connected to the camp. The Government of Indonesia recognized that the high rate of recidivism was one of a number of concerns related to the Indonesian prison system that needed to be addressed. Prison sector issues also included rehabilitative capacity, security procedures, organizational structure, and training. Evidence that terrorists within and outside of the corrections system (including Dulmatin) were in contact with each other and were able to further develop terrorist networks while incarcerated further highlighted the need for broad prison reform.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: On the heels of successful police actions, militants conducted retribution strikes against police stations. On March 12, terrorists associated with the Aceh training camp attacked a police outstation in Aceh. On September 22, after a series of police actions in North Sumatera, 12 heavily-armed men on six motorcycles killed three police officers in a heavy-arms attack on a sub-district police station.
Indonesian law enforcement authorities believe terrorists conducted a series of bank robberies to finance terrorist activities. The most brazen bank robbery took place midday August 18 when 16 heavily armed robbers robbed a bank in the Medan central commercial district. The robbers killed a police officer and wounded two bank security guards.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: While Indonesia’s Terrorism and Transnational Crime Task Force has a successful track record in prosecuting terrorism cases, the 2010 arrests linked to terrorist camps in Aceh revealed a limitation in Indonesia’s ability to counter terrorism; nothing in Indonesian law directly criminalizes participation in terrorist training camps. The Ministry of Law and Human Rights formed an inter-agency working group to draft amendments to Indonesia’s 2003 Terrorism law to address deficiencies in the current law. In addition, draft legislation to address the use of intelligence information in terrorism cases was also in progress.
One major development in terms of pending legislation was the formal establishment of the BNPT. On July 16, Presidential Decree Number 46/2010 formally established the BNPT as a free-standing agency. The new agency replaced the Anti-Terrorism Coordinating Desk, which was housed in the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs. On September 7, President Yudhoyono swore in retired Police Inspector General Ansyaad Mbai as the head of the BNPT. Mbai reported directly to the President and attended relevant cabinet sessions. However, the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs retained oversight over the BNPT, similar to its oversight over other ministries or agencies, including the Foreign Ministry, National Intelligence Agency (BIN), and the Indonesian National Police. The BNPT’s organizational structure contained a secretariat responsible for administration and program coordination, three deputies responsible for prevention, protection, and de-radicalization efforts; operations and capabilities; and international cooperation.
In addition, the Indonesian National Police’s (INP) counterterrorism unit, Special Detachment 88, was separated from the INP’s Criminal Investigation Unit and placed under the BNPT deputy responsible for operations and capabilities, but remained under the direct command of the national police chief. In a move to consolidate their efforts, provincial Detachment 88 units were abolished and replaced with 10 regional units.
Prosecutions: In 2010, the Attorney General’s Office Task Force on Terrorism and Transnational Crime (SATGAS) secured convictions of 11 terrorists connected with the 2009 bombings of the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta. A twelfth defendant, Saudi national Al Khalil Ali, was charged with financing the July 17, 2009 twin Jakarta hotel bombings under Indonesia’s fledgling terrorist finance law. Ali was acquitted of the terrorism charge on June 28, 2010, but found guilty of immigration violations and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
SATGAS prosecutors have developed extensive experience prosecuting terrorism cases, which are brought under a specialized terrorism law with different procedures than ordinary criminal cases. SATGAS prosecutors have developed long-term, close professional relationships with the specialized police unit, Detachment 88, which investigates Indonesia’s terrorism cases. This has led to a new criminal model in Indonesia – police and prosecutors working together on cases from the onset instead of prosecutorial engagement beginning after a police investigation has concluded. At the end of 2010, SATGAS was currently prosecuting more than 70 defendants associated with the Aceh training camp.
Border Security: Since 2006, a photo and 10 fingerprints have been taken for all passport applicants. This information was sent back to a central site for biometric checking which ostensibly must be completed before a passport can be issued. However, duplicative passports with false identities were easily obtainable. This systemic weakness was highlighted when police discovered that Muhammad Jibriel Abdur Rahman, aka Muhammad Ricky Ardhan, who was sentenced in 2010 to five years in jail for his role in the July 17, 2009 Jakarta bombings, was found to possess one. In addition, when terrorist Dulmatin was killed in March 2010 press reports state he had an Indonesian passport issued by the East Jakarta Immigration Office in the name of Yahya Ibrahim. The Government of Indonesia has noted the weaknesses in official documentation controls and has been working to address the issue.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Indonesia demonstrated concrete progress in improving its Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CTF) regime. In February, the government committed to work with the Financial Action Task Force and the Asia/Pacific Group (APG) to address remaining AML/CTF deficiencies.
On October 22, President Yudhoyono signed Law No. 8 of 2010 on the Prevention and Eradication of the Crime of Money Laundering, which will help Indonesia counter terrorist finance and transnational crime. The legislation permits rapid freezing and seizure of assets and bank accounts, which will make it easier for Indonesia to comply with UNSCRs 1267 and 1373 and bolster the ability of police and prosecutors to pursue individuals who provide critical financial support to terrorists. This law expanded the number of agencies permitted to conduct money laundering investigations; increased the ability of the independent Financial Intelligence Unit (PPATK) to examine suspicious financial transactions; expanded institutions authorized to obtain results of PPATK analysis or examination of transactions; created a streamlined mechanism to seize and freeze criminal assets; expanded the entities which must file reports with PPATK; and increased some criminal penalties for money laundering offenses. The law designated non-financial businesses, in addition to Indonesian banks and providers of financial services, which were required to report suspicious transactions to PPATK. Throughout the remainder of 2010, the PPATK led a government team preparing regulations and guidelines to implement the new law. The government was in the process of developing a comprehensive bill on countering terrorist financing at year’s end.
In addition, the Central Bank issued new regulations, effective December 1, which apply to all rural banks and require more extensive provisions for due diligence for high-risk customers and politically exposed persons, and checks against the Central Bank’s Terrorist List, based on data published by the UN.
Regional and International Cooperation: Indonesia signed the Beijing Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation and the Beijing Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft at the conclusion of an International Civil Aviation Organization diplomatic conference in September.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: While Indonesia’s new BNPT has stated its intent to incorporate counter-radicalization into its overall counterterrorism strategy, civil society organizations continued to take the lead in developing and implementing counter-radicalization programs at the local level. For example, the Association for Victims of Terrorism Bombings in Indonesia, which includes family members of victims of terrorism in Indonesia, worked to counter violent extremism through public outreach events held at schools and for communities in Indonesia.
The corrections system lacked formal rehabilitation and reintegration programs for all prisoners, including terrorists. As with counter-radicalization, the BNPT stated it intended to play a more significant role in de-radicalization efforts moving forward.
Overview: Japan continued to take active measures to prevent the spread of terrorism through stringent border security enforcement, counterterrorism capacity building assistance, and legislation aimed at stemming the flow of terrorist financing. In coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Customs and Border Protection (CBP), several Japanese agencies have strengthened immigration procedures as well as port and shipping security.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan’s Immigration Bureau, the National Police Agency (NPA), and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism coordinated with the CBP’s Immigration Advisory Program on preventing terrorists and other high-risk travelers from boarding commercial aircraft bound for the United States.
Under the Container Security Initiative (CSI), Japanese Customs authorities worked with CBP Officers at four Japanese seaports to review ship manifests and to screen suspicious containers bound for the United States. Under a reciprocal bilateral agreement, Japanese Customs also deploys officers to work with CBP at the Port of Long Beach, California to screen U.S. export shipments bound for Japan.
The NPA and the Public Security Intelligence Agency continued to monitor the activities of Aum Shinrikyo, renamed Aleph, and splinter group Hikari no Wa, or "Circle of Light."
Regional and International Cooperation: Japan continued to assist counterterrorism capacity building in neighboring countries through dialogue, seminars, workshops, and training. The Japanese Coast Guard, for example, provided capacity building services and training seminars to authorities from states that border the Straits of Malacca. In March, Japan decided to extend Counterterrorism and Security Enhancement grant aid to Uzbekistan. In June, Japan extended similar grant aid to Indonesia.
In March, the Japanese hosted an Aviation Security Ministerial Conference, attended by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, for top officials from the Asia/Pacific region and the International Civil Aviation Organization to discuss ways to bolster global aviation security. Also in March, the Japan-Singapore Joint APEC Seminar on Securing Maritime Trade through Counterterrorism Efforts was held in Tokyo. In June, Japanese officials took part in the Fourth Japan-Republic of Korea (South Korea) Counterterrorism Consultations. The same month, Japan co-chaired the Fifth Japan-ASEAN Counterterrorism Dialogue in Bali, Indonesia. In December, Japan participated in the sixth annual U.S.-Japan-Australia Trilateral Strategic Dialogue Counterterrorism Consultations in Melbourne, Australia.
Countering Terrorist Finance: The Diet (Japanese Parliament) amended Customs Act secondary legislation, which addressed in part a Financial Action Task Force recommendation pertaining to cross-border currency declaration and disclosure.
Overview: As a result of a combination of effective law enforcement efforts and close counterterrorism cooperation with the United States and the international community, Malaysia has not suffered a serious incident of terrorism in recent years. Malaysia has been used as a transit and planning site for terrorists, however. Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) cooperated closely with the international community on counterterrorism efforts, and RMP officers received training in a range of counterterrorism skills. The effectiveness of the police in identifying terrorist networks was limited by their continued reliance on the Internal Security Act to detain suspects on the basis of intelligence rather than on information gained through investigations. Moreover, in spite of new measures to tighten immigration requirements for some foreign citizens, the country remained vulnerable to potential terrorist activity as a result of weak border controls and gaps in maritime security in the areas bordering Thailand in Northern Malaysia and the Philippines and Indonesia in Eastern Malaysia. Persons with terrorist affiliations were able to take advantage of these weak controls to travel within Malaysia and to transit to third countries.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: In January, Malaysian police detained 10 persons reportedly involved in a plot to carry out terrorist attacks against Hindu and Buddhist religious shrines in Kuala Lumpur. In February, two Malaysians citizens were kidnapped in Sabah state, by members of the Abu Sayyaf Group terrorist organization, and taken to the Philippines to be held for ransom. The two men were subsequently rescued by Philippine armed forces in late December.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: During 2010, the Royal Malaysian Police Special Task Force-Operations/Counter-Terrorism detained 15 suspected terrorists under the Internal Security Act. Most of those detained were foreigners with connections to Jemaah Islamiya or to Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid, and were later deported to their home countries. At the end of the year, three terrorist suspects remained in detention. The recruiting activities within Malaysian universities of a number of these suspects led the Malaysian Government to more closely scrutinize foreign students and to begin publicizing its counterterrorism successes.
In general, immigration authorities' vetting of arriving travelers was perfunctory, although the Ministry of Home Affairs announced the implementation of a new biometrics system for arriving travelers beginning in December 2010. Malaysian authorities detained terrorist suspects when the authorities became aware of the suspects’ presence in the country. Malaysian authorities also actively cooperated with other countries to deport suspect foreigners to their home countries.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Malaysia's central bank (Bank Negara Malaysia) has signed memoranda of understanding on the sharing of financial intelligence with the Financial Intelligence Unit of many countries in the region. Malaysia is an active member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, and its subsidiary Donors and Provider Group for Technical Assistance, and has worked with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, the UN Counterterrorism Committee Executive Directorate, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Malaysia acted on UNSCRs 1267 and 1373 requests to freeze terrorist assets. While Malaysia improved the legislative framework to criminalize terrorist financing, there have been no investigations, prosecutions, or convictions related to terrorist financing under this new scheme. The Government of Malaysia continued to use the Internal Security Act as a preventive measure instead of investigating cases.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Malaysian government engaged on issues related to counterterrorism and transnational crime with its neighbors, both bilaterally and in international fora such as the ASEAN and APEC. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs operated the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Counterterrorism, which has served to facilitate the training of Malaysians officials involved in counterterrorism efforts, but has done less to identify forward-looking or regional counterterrorism priorities. The Ministry of Home Affairs announced plans to establish a Counterterrorism Training Center, focused on improving the skills of law enforcement officers, on Langkawi Island.
In September, Malaysian authorities extradited known terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari to Singapore, from where he had been imprisoned and had escaped in 2008. The RMP has a good working relationship with both regional and international law enforcement agencies.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Malaysia took the view that "extremists," at least those who have not yet committed a crime, are misguided individuals who can best be treated by rehabilitation rather than by punishment. School curricula and instruction encouraged tolerance and Malaysian authorities were quick to take action when they detected efforts to undermine social harmony. The Malaysian government monitored radical Internet web sites, but generally did not attempt to disrupt these sites, believing it can better follow radical activity by allowing such sites to operate. The government did not have a comprehensive strategic communication approach to counter-radicalization, but during the year, the RMP began to publicize the detentions of terrorist suspects, which has resulted in greater public awareness of the dangers posed by extremists and has led to an increase in public tips to the police regarding activities of extremists, according to RMP contacts.
The RMP operated a de-radicalization program for terrorist suspects in Malaysia's Kamunting Prison. The police employed clerics, family members, and former radicals to convince terrorist suspects to renounce violence. On release from detention, these persons continued to face restrictions on their activities, including curfews and limits on their travel and contacts, until they have demonstrated that they no longer have affiliations with violent extremists.
While the government touts the deradicalization program as highly successful, there were no available figures on the rates of recidivism of those who have completed it.
Overview: New Zealand continued working cooperatively with the United States and other countries on bilateral, regional, and global levels to fight terrorism, including nuclear terrorism. New Zealand particularly took an active leadership role in the Asia-Pacific region in multilateral counterterrorism organizations. New Zealand focused a great deal of effort on helping build the capacity of small pacific island countries in all areas of counterterrorism and actively contributed to international efforts to counter the radicalization of Islam and violent extremism.
Countering Terrorist Finance: New Zealand is not a major regional or offshore financial center and was a low threat environment for terrorist finance. Under the Financial Transaction Reporting Act 1996, financial institutions were required to report transactions suspected of being linked to money-laundering to the New Zealand Police Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). In 2010, the FIU received approximately 3,040 Suspicious Transaction Reports.
In February 2010, New Zealand announced its first designations of non-UN listed terrorist entities; 14 non-UN listed entities were designated. All designated terrorist entities are subject to criminal sanctions under New Zealand law and those prosecutions based on non-UN lists are subject to court challenge.
New Zealand provided funding for the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering’s 2010 technical assistance and training program with Pacific Island countries.
Regional and International Cooperation: New Zealand actively worked in the Asia-Pacific region on counterterrorism issues and demonstrated a strong commitment to building the counterterrorism capabilities of the small island states of the Pacific region, in particular, legislative and operational capacity building projects.
On November 16-18, New Zealand and the United States co-hosted the Trans-Pacific Symposium on Dismantling Transnational Illicit Networks in Christchurch. Over one hundred officials from 23 Pacific Rim economies and several international organizations participated. The event brought together law enforcement, customs, and other agencies from around the Pacific basin to discuss how to best counter transnational illicit activity, including terrorist-related threats. The event concluded with the Co-Chairs’ Summary of Outcomes document in which participants agreed to increase cooperation in the region.
On March 29-30, New Zealand hosted the Second ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) inter-session meeting on maritime security in Auckland. New Zealand, Indonesia, and Japan jointly chaired the meeting, which included 150 delegates representing the 26 member nations of the ARF with the exception of North Korea.
New Zealand continued its active contribution to the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) with a particular focus on supporting GICNT activities in the Asia-Pacific region and working with GICNT partners to develop a “model GICNT tabletop exercise”.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Government of New Zealand continued its funding of counter-radicalization work in Southeast Asia out of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Asia Security Fund. Most of New Zealand’s funding went to cross-cultural and interfaith projects focused on youth, media, and education. The government also contributed to the development of ‘Know Your Neighbors,’ a regional education resource aimed at high school students in Southeast Asia and Australasia that sought to build greater understanding and respect of different cultures and religions, thereby helping to bridge some of the divides between societies around the region.
Overview: The ability of terrorist groups, such as Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Jemaah Islamiya (JI), and the New People’s Army, to conduct terrorist activities inside the Philippines continued to decline. The Philippine government, with U.S. support, has kept constant pressure on terrorist groups, even as their security services were stretched thin by other demands, such as carrying out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and providing security for the national election in May. The election of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III did not result in major changes to counterterrorism policy, and his new administration has continued strong counterterrorism cooperation with the United States.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: Capturing the true picture of terrorist incidents in the Philippines is difficult – kidnappings, grenade attacks, and other acts of violence often seem indiscriminate and most remain unsolved. In addition, during the periods before the nationwide elections in May and the village elections in October, there was an upsurge in violence by terrorist groups against political candidates and the general populace to influence the elections. Notable 2010 terrorist incidents included:
- On February 27, an attack in Basilan killed 13 civilians and a paramilitary member, and injured 13 more civilians; allegedly perpetrated by ASG in revenge for the February 21 killing of six ASG militants, including commander, Albader Parad.
- On April 13, ASG members led by Puruji Indama conducted a multiple improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Isabela City, Basilan. The armed assailants wore Philippine National Police (PNP) uniforms, detonated an IED outside a church, shot at fleeing civilians, and ambushed responding Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) marines and police officers. Five civilians, three marines, and one police officer were killed in the attack. The assailants had planned a more significant attack, but a second vehicle carrying explosives exploded in an unpopulated area before the attack, killing three ASG members including Indama’s brother. A third IED planted in front of a judge’s house failed to explode and was later disabled by police. Two ASG members were killed during the fighting that ensued and two more were captured.
- On August 4, a bomb blast at Zamboanga airport injured 24 people, including Sulu provincial governor Sakur Tan and a U.S. citizen, and killed two people, including the bomber. PNP believed that Tan’s political rivals targeted him, likely with some assistance from ASG.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Philippines law enforcement personnel continued vigorous efforts to arrest terrorists and eliminate safe havens and closely coordinated efforts with U.S. law enforcement officers. The Philippine Department of Justice filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court in Basilan for the proscription of the ASG as a terrorist group and 202 identified associates as terrorists. The petition was pending at year’s end.
JI associate Zulkipli bin Abdul Hir, aka Marwan, and ASG commander Isnilon Hapilon appeared on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list at numbers 29 and 17, respectively, and were believed to be in the Philippines along with other wanted ASG members. The Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), PNP, and AFP were each cognizant of the high-profile terrorist fugitives in the Philippines and provided reasonable and consistent attempts to locate and apprehend them.
Significant law enforcement actions and the Philippine judiciary response included:
- On May 21, a Regional Trial Court issued 26 arrest warrants for individuals allegedly involved in the construction or deployment of a large IED at Kagay, Jolo on September 29, 2009, which resulted in the deaths of two U.S. servicemen and one Philippine Marine. The FBI provided investigative assistance.
- On December 17, Madhatta Haipe was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Washington, D.C., to 23 years incarceration for his role in a 1995 hostage taking incident in Mindanao involving U.S. and Philippine citizens. He was apprehended by the NBI in May 2009, pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant and extradited to the United States on August 27, 2009 by the NBI and FBI. This investigation was conducted by the FBI with direct participation by the PNP and NBI.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Legislation amending the anti-money laundering law to criminalize terrorist finance as a stand-alone offense was pending in the Philippine Congress at year’s end. The Philippines is a member of the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. The Philippines is likewise a member of the Egmont Group of financial intelligence units (FIUs). The Philippines’ FIU must obtain a court order to freeze assets, including those of terrorists and terrorist organizations placed on the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list and the lists of foreign governments. This requirement was inconsistent with the international standard, which calls for the preventative freezing of terrorist assets “without delay” from the time of designation.
Regional and International Cooperation: In 2010, the Philippines ratified the 2007 ASEAN Convention on Counterterrorism. The Philippines hosted the Third U.S.-ASEAN Senior Official’s Dialogue on Transnational Crime in October.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: In 2010, the Philippine government launched a counter-radicalization program called Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA (Resilient Communities in Conflict Affected Communities). This was President Aquino’s flagship program on peace-building, reconstruction, and development in more than 5,000 conflict-affected areas in the country. Activities included addressing the needs of internally displaced people, reintegrating former combatants, and development programs. Additionally, the AFP developed and adopted a Civil Relations Doctrine that is the first of its kind. The AFP conducted operations to counter violent extremism, including through radio programs, public service announcements, a “junior hero program,” and publication of a comic book with anti-extremist themes. The PNP also sought to expand its Community Relations Group to address at-risk groups prone to radicalization.
Overview: Singapore continued its strong bilateral and multilateral counterterrorism intelligence and law enforcement cooperation. As of December, Singapore held in detention 15 persons with links to terrorist groups. Detainees included members of Jemaah Islamiya (JI) who had plotted to carry out attacks in Singapore in the past and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Singapore released 48 persons on Restriction Orders (RO) and two on Suspension Direction (SD); detainees released on ROs and SDs were monitored by the Singapore authorities and required to report to authorities on a regular basis. Among those subjected to religious rehabilitation, there are no reported cases of recidivism to date.
Law Enforcement and Prosecutions: Singapore used its Internal Security Act (ISA) to arrest and detain suspected terrorists without trial. The ISA authorizes the minister for home affairs, with the consent of the president, to order detention without filing charges if it is determined that a person poses a threat to national security. The initial detention may be for up to two years, and the minister for home affairs may renew the detention for an unlimited number of additional periods of up to two years at a time with the president's consent.
In August, Singapore passed the Hostage Taking Act 2010, which gives effect to the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages.
Singapore’s law enforcement actions included:
- In January, Singapore detained JI and MILF member Mohammed Azmi Ali for terrorist activities and placed him in detention under Singapore's Internal Security Act (ISA). Azmi had originally fled Singapore in 2001 following the government’s crackdown on JI.
- In February, Singapore released self-radicalized detainee Abdul Basheer Abdul Kader under SD. The government had originally detained Basheer in April 2007 after he had made plans to go to Afghanistan to engage in militant activities.
- In July, Singapore placed Muhammad Anwar Jailani and Muhammad Thahir Shaik Dawood directly on to RO. Both Jailani and Thahir had links to Anwar al-Aulaqi. According to press reports, Thahir had gone to Yemen to seek out al-Aulaqi to engage in militant activities outside of Singapore. He also enrolled in an educational institution run by an associate of Usama bin Ladin.
- Also in July, Singapore announced the detention of soldier Muhammad Fadil Abdul Hamid under Singapore's Internal Security Act. The government announced that Fadil had become self-radicalized and had made contact with al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula operative Anwar al-Aulaqi, who encouraged him to go to Afghanistan to engage in militant activities. Authorities arrested Fadil before he could depart Singapore.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Singapore cooperated with the United States to identify and freeze terrorist assets. The opening of Singapore's two casinos in 2010 increased concerns about the potential for illicit flows to pass through Singapore. Singapore has implemented legal and regulatory changes involving cash transactions at casinos to better align itself with the international standards for anti-money laundering/counterterrorist financing regimes.
Regional and International Cooperation: In June, the Republic of Singapore Navy participated in the annual Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism exercise. In November, the Singapore Armed Forces participated in Cooperation 2010, a nine-day joint counterterrorism training exercise with a personnel contingent from China's People's Liberation Army.
Countering Radicalization and Extremism: Singapore maintained a de-radicalization program that focused on countering detainees' extremist ideology. Detainees are required to undergo a program of religious counseling with a group of volunteer religious counselors. Singapore enlists the support of religious teachers and scholars to study JI's ideology to develop teachings to counter the group within Singapore's Muslim community and provide counseling to detainees. Religious counseling for detainees continued after release from detention. Among those individuals released from detention, there were no reported cases of recidivism.
Overview: While officials have long expressed concern that transnational terrorist groups could establish links with southern Thailand-based separatist groups, there have been no indications that transnational terrorist groups were directly involved in the violence in the south, and there was no evidence of direct operational links between southern Thai insurgent groups and regional terrorist networks.
The ethno-nationalist separatist insurgency in Thailand’s southernmost provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, and portions of Songkhla continued in 2010. A two-month political protest organized by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) in Bangkok between March and May 2010 paralyzed the capital, descended into violence, and resulted in 92 deaths. The Government of Thailand has since filed charges under the terrorist-based provisions of the criminal code against a number of the UDD core leaders and fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for allegedly having engaged in or abetted acts of domestic terrorism. The circumstances surrounding the violence and the deaths were under investigation at year's end by both the Thai government’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and an independent fact-finding commission.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The porous nature of Thailand’s southern border with Malaysia remained an issue of concern. At the same time, cross-border law enforcement cooperation based on long association between Thai and Malaysian police officers was good.
On November 16, the Thai government extradited international arms trafficker Viktor Bout to the United States. Bout was indicted in New York for conspiring to kill U.S. nationals and officers, to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, and to provide material support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
On November 30, Thai police arrested three persons with alleged links through a document forgery ring with links to terrorist groups. The arrests were part of a joint Thai-Spanish operation in which Spanish police also arrested seven other persons in connection with the same document forgery ring.
Thai police, security officials, and court system personnel participated in a series of U.S. training programs sponsored through the Antiterrorism Assistance Program, the Force Protection Detachment (the criminal justice sector capacity building programs for police, prosecutors, and judiciary mounted by the Transnational Crime Affairs Section), and the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok. The Thai National Security Council and its Thai Immigration Bureau reconfirmed its commitment to the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) program.
Countering Terrorist Finance: The Thai government expressed high-level political commitment to addressing deficiencies that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had identified in Thailand's anti-money laundering/counterterrorist finance (AML/CTF) regime, and reported taking multiple steps to address FATF recommendations. Ministry of Finance regulations governing cross border cash carrying were in line with the FATF Special Recommendation on Terrorist Financing. On December 7, the Thai cabinet approved the Ministry of Justice's proposed AML/CTF National Strategy Plan (2011-2015), and as part of the government's actions under this plan, the Anti-Money Laundering Office and a Thai government working group drafted a proposed Counterterrorism Financing Act which, in part, would criminalize the collection or provision of funds for the purpose of supporting terrorist acts or organizations. The Justice Minister has committed to FATF that this legislation will be passed by October 2011. Thailand is a member of the Egmont Group of financial intelligence units.
To comply with international standards and to develop further an effective regime to freeze terrorist funds and assets of designated entities under UNSCRs 1267 and 1373, the Thai government established the Anti-Money Laundering Board in November. The Thai government drafted multiple amendments to its anti-money laundering act, including one to increase the number of predicate offenses and to decrease the minimum cash transaction reporting threshold for electronic-payments. The amendments were submitted to the Council of State where they remained under review at year’s end.
Regional and International Cooperation: Thailand participated actively in international counterterrorism efforts through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and other multilateral fora.
1 This section was inadvertently omitted in the original publication. It has been in previous editions of this report.