The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is celebrating half a century of partnership with the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) which has resulted in numerous drug detections and seizures, millions of dollars in criminal assets restrained and the rescue of children from sexual exploitation.
The Malaysia office was the AFP’s first permanent presence overseas and the anniversary also marks 50 years of the AFP’s international liaison officer network.
The milestone was marked in a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on 12 October, attended by AFP Deputy Commissioner Lesa Gale, Acting Australian High Commissioner Simon Fellows and Director NCID Commissioner Dato’ Sri Kamarudin bin Md Din.
During the event, delegates from the AFP and RMP discussed the impact of transnational and serious organised crime on the region, and how both agencies can better work together to combat this growing threat.
Deputy Commissioner Gale said the AFP was proud to work with the RMP to thwart drug trafficking, child exploitation and other criminal activities that impacted on both countries.
“This partnership is older than the AFP itself and although both agencies’ names have since changed, the work we do to protect our communities remains the same.
“The close relationship was demonstrated after the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, when we both sent delegations to Ukraine in the aftermath of the tragedy to collect vital evidence, as part of the Joint Investigative Team.”
The Kuala Lumpur Post was the first international liaison post established by Australia’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1973. In 1979, three Australian agencies, the Bureau of Narcotics, the Australian Capital Territory Police Force and the Commonwealth Police merged to form the Australian Federal Police and the Kuala Lumpur Post was managed by the newly formed agency.
“The international network is an integral tool in achieving the AFP’s mission to protect Australians and Australia’s interests,” Deputy Commissioner Gale said.
“These relationships with international law enforcement partners are critical to efforts to combat transnational crime that impacts Australia and our neighbours.”
In 2019, AFP officers in Malaysia worked collaboratively with the RMP Sexual, Woman and Child Investigations Division to identify a prolific child sex offender who had been operating in Sarawak under Operation Lil-danne. As a result of this investigation, a 41-year-old Malaysian man was arrested and sentenced to 48 years’ imprisonment.
Four children were removed from harm and a further 34 victims were identified.
Deputy Commissioner Gale said Malaysia is a major transit country for illicit drugs produced in the Golden Triangle and unfortunately a lot of those drugs are destined for Australia.
“By working with the RMP we can target those organised crime syndicates before their illicit goods can leave Malaysia, and by sharing intelligence and resources we can also assist Malaysian authorities to alleviate the impacts these transnational crimes cause to their communities,” Deputy Commissioner Gale said.
RMP Operation Eagle-Diamond, an investigation into an industrial clandestine drug laboratory in the region of Penang, was assisted by AFP Forensics and criminal intelligence. The operation resulted in the seizure of millions in criminal assets and the dismantling of a drug lab that was capable of producing hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine with each batch.
The AFP has more than 200 personnel located in 33 countries as part of its international network. AFP members posted offshore work in partnership with foreign law enforcement agencies to detect, deter, prevent and disrupt crime and harm at its source to ensure a safer Australia.