Interpol lauds Singapore for passport checks

SINGAPORE - Singapore was yesterday singled out for being one of the few countries that check passport details against Interpol's database of stolen and lost travel documents.

On the sidelines of an Interpol World press conference, director of international partnerships and development Julia Viedma said of the Republic: "When you leave or enter your own country, your data is already cross-checked with (the) Interpol database, so if there is something, it means that citizens are well-protected."

Her comments come in the wake of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Interpol found that at least two passengers on it were travelling with stolen passports, a revelation that raised red flags among law enforcers and security analysts.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority here said that it has been using the database since 2008.

It is just as well that Singapore is lauded as being safe, as it will play host to an expected 8,000 international visitors at a summit in April next year.

Called Interpol World, the event will bring together public- and private-sector players in the safety and security industry for the first time, allowing them to collaborate to find solutions to potential security threats.

The biggest global security threat, said Ms Viedma, is cyber-crime, as it has the potential to reach everyone who has a smart device.

Mr Richard Wong, director of public sector and government practice at market analyst Frost and Sullivan, said that cyber attackers have become more aggressive and reactive. He cited the case of the hacking of the Prime Minister's Office website in November last year.

Ms Viedma said that the expertise and talents needed to address new challenges are not always in the hands of the police and law enforcement.

"They (the private security companies) are the ones dealing with technology and they are the ones who can provide to our member countries the capacity building and training they need, to meet the challenge," she said.

The three-day event, from April 14 to 16 next year, will be held in conjunction with the opening of the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation here.

The complex, in Tanglin, will focus on the innovation of security solutions, and assist all member countries in facing changing security issues.

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