Australian Border Force and Republic of Korea working together to stem flow of illicit goods

Australian Border Force Commissioner (ABF) Michael Outram APM visited the Republic of Korea this week (9-10 May 2024), meeting the Korea Customs Service (KCS) and Korea Coast Guard (KCG) in talks set to bolster the ABF’s relationship with regional partner agencies.

The Republic of Korea and Australia are both committed to bilateral dialogue on operational and strategic matters, with the Republic of Korea being a significant partner on ABF priorities including tackling illicit tobacco and vapes, illicit drugs and sharing information and experience on modernisation of the border security domain.

The ABF and the KCS are also both accredited World Customs Organization Regional Dog Training Centres and cooperate closely on their respective Detector Dog Programs.  This includes undertaking reciprocal visits to exchange methodologies and identify opportunities for further collaboration on canine breeding, development and training, and future dog procurement.

Commissioner Outram noted that by working together, regional partners can achieve greater outcomes, combatting transnational crime and ensuring the prosperity of nations in the region.

“Since January 2023, targeted engagement with Korea Customs has seen a significant increase in operational referrals, resulting in the detection of illicit commodities at the border and the arrest of individuals involved in these activities,” the Commissioner said.

“Cooperation with Korea Customs Service enhances not only our respective domestic  Detector Dog Programs, but allows us both to provide additional training and capability uplift to other key partners in the region. This  strengthening of regional customs effect at the border plays a key role in disrupting the trade of illicit goods such as narcotics, securing the supply chain, and reducing the space for organised crime networks to operate.

 “Australian Border Force is committed to increasing our cooperation and engagement with our counterparts in Korea, forging links and learning from each other in order to protect our borders and our region.”


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