Yakuza and mafia shake-ups
Japanese police are bracing themselves for potential violence following reports of a split in one of the yakuza, or organised criminal syndicates that operate in Japan. Plans to move the headquarters of Yamaguchi-gumi—the biggest yakuza in Japan, with an estimated 10,300 members—.from Kobe to Nagoya reportedly sparked tensions. The organisation has also reportedly been strained by divided loyalties to its leader Shinobu Tsukasa, who was released from jail in 2011 after serving time for firearms offences.
Meanwhile in Italy, there are concerns that up 45 organised criminal gangs from Rome, Calabria and Naples are working together. A police report supports a claim from investigator Giuseppe Pignatone that ‘complexity’ was characteristic of organised crime in Rome, with operations from southern Italian groups increasingly coming to the attention of police in the Italian capital.
While police dogs can sniff out drugs, money and human remains, one named Bear has a very particular set of skills: he’s able to detect equipment containing criminal evidence. The black Labrador recently sniffed out a thumb drive within 10 minutes, leading to child pornography charges being laid against former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle.
Police support Wear It Purple
Finally, it’s great to see NSW Police and AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin celebrating respect and diversity by supporting Wear It Purple Day. Police incorporated purple into their uniforms to promote a safe and supportive environment for Australia’s LGBTQI community.
Secret US Drone campaign against Islamic State
The Washington Post this week revealed that the US is running a clandestine drone operation targeting terrorists in Syria, entirely separate to the official US military offensive against the Islamic State in Iraq. It’s been revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are flying drones over Syria, identifying high-value targets and senior Islamic State figures. Read more about the campaign here.
According to Anne Aly it’s time to get smart about countering terrorism. Governments, international companies and non-governmental organisations are starting to pay more and more attention to Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs. With its focus on the root causes of terrorism and its emphasis on bring together government and civil society, CVE programs need to strike the right balance to be legitimate and effective. Read more here.
On the domestic front
A 24-year-old woman searched as part of a counterterrorism raid in New South Wales has this week had her charges dropped. The woman had been charged with intimidating and assaulting police officers after punching a police officer and threatening to ‘slit the throat’ of another, but the charges were dropped after the Magistrate deemed the woman was detained and searched illegally because she was not listed on the warrant.
NSW Premier Mike Baird recently announced that bail will be denied to anyone in NSW charged with an offence carrying a jail term who also has links to terrorism.
A mobile app by the name of My Jihad is being developed in Perth after winning $10,000 at a MYHACK event in May. The app targets disempowered youth who might be lured by Islamic State’s rhetoric.
Australia and Indonesia to boost joint maritime policing
It has been reported that later this year, the Australian Border Force and Indonesia’s new coast guard agency Bakamala will formalise a partnership that will cover training, criminal intelligence exchanges and joint patrols against transnational organised crime. While no at-sea operations against people smugglers will take place, illegal fishing, drug shipments, piracy, among other criminal activities including terrorism will be targeted.
Colombian-Venezuelan border crisis escalates
More than 1,000 Colombians have been deported from Venezuela and over 10,000 others have voluntarily fled to avoid being sent home without their families or belongings after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro this week ordered the deportation of all Colombian citizens living in the Western state of Táchira. The widely-criticised decision will include a crackdown on paramilitary activity, crime, smuggling, kidnapping and drug trafficking. However, chaos along the border has led the Colombian Government to intervene, offering shelter to its returning nationals while also offering citizenship to Venezuelans seeking to reunite with their families in Colombian soil.
The border fact
What’s the busiest airport in the world? That’d be Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which hosted more than 96 million passengers in 2014, according to Airports Council International’s latest World Airport Traffic Report.