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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Chapter 2. Country Reports: East Asia and Pacific Overview


Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Report
July 31, 2012

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Terrorist incidents in East Asia and the Pacific in 2011 shifted from large-scale attacks such as the 2009 Jakarta hotel bombings to attacks on domestic targets and crimes of opportunity such as kidnapping for ransom. Suicide bombers in Indonesia targeted a police mosque and a church, injuring 50 people in two incidents. In each attack, the only fatalities were the terrorists, whom the police believe were affiliated in a loose-knit network. A series of book bombs in March unsuccessfully targeted prominent individuals and a senior police official in Indonesia. In the southern Philippines on July 25, two U.S. citizens were kidnapped and subsequently held for ransom by the Abu Sayyaf Group; one U.S. citizen was released on October 3 and the other escaped on December 10. 

A suspected perpetrator of the 2002 Bali bombings, Jemaah Islamiya (JI) member Umar Patek, was captured in Pakistan and returned to Indonesia to stand trial on terrorism-related charges. An appellate court upheld the conviction on terrorism-related charges of JI co-founder Abu Bakar Ba'asyir. Indonesia also continued its close multilateral cooperation in Southeast Asia, most notably through the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers Meeting Experts Working Group on Counterterrorism. 

Australia maintained its position as a regional leader in the fight against terrorism and worked to strengthen the Asia-Pacific region's counterterrorism capacity through a range of bilateral and regional initiatives in fora such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization, ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the Pacific Island Forum (PIF).  In May, New Zealand hosted a regional counterterrorism table-top exercise concomitant with the PIF's annual meeting, which was attended by the head of the United Nations Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate, 14 member countries, and several observers, including the United States.  This was the first such exercise since 1995. The Japanese government continued to participate in international counterterrorism efforts at multilateral, regional, and bilateral levels through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund, the Sixth ASEAN-Japan Counterterrorism meeting, and the First Japan-China Counterterrorism Consultations.  Australia, Indonesia, Japan, China, and New Zealand are also founding members of the GCTF; Indonesia and Australia volunteered to co-chair the Forum's Southeast Asia Working Group. 

CHINA  

Overview: China's cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism issues was marginal with little reciprocity in information exchanges. China conducted joint counterterrorism training exercises with Pakistan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Indonesia. China's domestic counterterrorism efforts remained primarily focused against the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of northwest China. Domestic counterterrorism exercises were also held in southwest China. China does not always distinguish between legitimate political dissent and the advocacy of violence to overthrow the government, and it has used counterterrorism as a pretext to suppress Uighurs, the predominantly Muslim ethnic group that makes up a large percentage of the population within the XUAR. China's government characterized Uighur discontent, peaceful political activism, and some forms of religious observance as terrorist activity. 

2011 Terrorist Incidents: In 2011 ETIM claimed responsibility for two violent acts primarily targeting government officials. On July 18, an attack on a police station in Hotan, Xinjiang claimed the lives of four and left four others injured. On July 30 and 31, a series of bomb and knife attacks in Kashgar left at least 12 dead and over 40 injured.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Chinese government adopted legislation to address counterterrorism issues. On October 29, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) passed the Decision on Issues Related to Strengthening Anti-Terrorism Work, which clarified the definitions of terrorist activities, terrorist organizations, and terrorists. Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning stated in his report to the legislature on the decision that there was previously no clear and precise definition of these terms provided in domestic law, and the lack of clear definitions had “adversely affected the control over terrorist assets and international cooperation in antiterrorism efforts, and the decision has been designed to fill this gap.” 

The Chinese government typically did not provide public information on law enforcement actions in response to terrorist attacks. One exception was the publication of trial results for those accused of participating in terrorist attacks. Four death sentences and two 19-year jail terms were issued to individuals found complicit in the Kashgar and Hotan attacks. 

U.S. law enforcement agencies sought assistance from Chinese counterparts on several cases affecting U.S. citizens, but the Chinese government generally did not respond to these requests. For example, in several instances China was asked to conduct joint investigations with U.S. law enforcement and provide assistance to disrupt suspect activities and then prosecute the relevant individuals either in the United States or China. In response, Chinese authorities took no action beyond simply confirming information they had previously provided. No additional action was taken to proactively assist U.S. law enforcement. 

Countering Terrorist Finance: China is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a FATF-style regional body. The Decision on Issues Related to Strengthening Anti-Terrorism Work, passed in October, defined the legal scope of “terrorist activities” and “terrorist organizations” related to, among other crimes, terrorist financing. The decision provided the legal basis for the establishment of a national interagency terrorist asset freezing body. Regarding the monitoring of non-profit organizations, China has a deep and far-reaching system of overall oversight; however, there were still no identifiable measures or requirements for preventing terrorist finance abuses in this sector. 

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: China is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. China provided support for three United Nations Security Council committees (the 1267 committee, the Counterterrorism Committee (CTC), and the 1540 committee). In May, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members China, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan staged counterterrorism exercises in Xinjiang (Tianshan-II); China and Indonesia held their first counterterrorism exercises in June (Sharp Knife 2011); counterterrorism exercises were held with Belarus in July; and China and Pakistan held their fourth joint counterterrorism military exercise in Pakistan in November. In late 2011, the Chinese government ratified the China-Russia Cooperation Agreement on Combating Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism, which called for Moscow and Beijing to coordinate more closely through the G20 and the SCO. 

Hong Kong

 Provisions of Hong Kong's UN Anti-Terrorism Measures Ordinance (UNATMO) for the freezing, forfeiture, seizure, or detention of terrorist assets and property came into effect in January and further strengthened legal statutes to combat terrorist financing and acts of terrorism. The Hong Kong Police Counterterrorism Readiness Unit provided a strong deterrent presence, assisted police districts with counterterrorist strategy implementation, and complemented – with tactical and professional support – the Hong Kong Police's existing specialist units, such as the Special Duties Unit and its VIP Protection Unit. 

Hong Kong is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. In July, Hong Kong passed legislation to counter money laundering and terrorist financing. The legislation imposed statutory supervision requirements for money changers and remittance agents as well as legal requirements for customer due diligence and record-keeping in the banking, securities, and insurance sectors. Terrorist financing is a criminal offense in Hong Kong, and banks and other financial institutions are obliged to continuously search for terrorist financing networks and screen accounts using U.S. designations lists, as well as the UN 1267/1989 and 1988 Sanctions Committees' consolidated lists . Filing suspicious transactions reports irrespective of transaction amounts is obligatory, but Hong Kong lacked mandatory reporting requirements for cross-border currency movements. 

Hong Kong cooperated in counterterrorism efforts through Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, INTERPOL, and other security-focused organizations, and incorporated recommendations into its security strategy. In April, the Hong Kong Police and the Australian Federal Police signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly address transnational challenges and to bolster capacity building, an effort that led to an inaugural International Counterterrorism Investigators Workshop in November. Hong Kong authorities continued their effective security and law enforcement partnership with the United States through the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department's effective joint operation of the Container Security Initiative and by participating in U.S.-sponsored training. 

Macau  

Macau is a member of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body.  Terrorist financing is a criminal offense in Macau, and banks and other financial institutions are obliged to continuously search for terrorist financing networks and screen accounts using U.S. designation lists, as well as the UN 1267/1989 and 1988 Sanctions Committees' consolidated lists .  Filing suspicious transaction reports irrespective of transaction amounts was obligatory, but Macau lacks mandatory reporting requirements for cross-border currency movements or large currency transactions. Macau is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.  In May, Macau hosted the Asia Pacific Regional Review Group meeting under the FATF's International Cooperation Review Group.  The U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network attended this meeting. 

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

INDONESIA  

Overview: The Indonesian government continued to strengthen and build its capacity to counter terrorism. Complementing strong domestic efforts, Indonesia cooperated and coordinated where appropriate with other countries, including the United States. Indonesian counterterrorism operations continued to disrupt efforts by terrorist organizations to use the country as a safe haven for training and conducting attacks. Border security remained a challenge, given that Indonesia is composed of more than 17,000 islands and has numerous points of entry by land, sea, and air. 

Terrorists in Indonesia appeared to have changed tactics in recent years from large-scale bombings of high-profile targets to smaller, more diffuse attacks generally directed at domestic institutions, especially those representing the central government. For the most part, explosives used in a string of suicide bombings during the year were of poor quality and most of these bombs were relatively small and unsophisticated. This trend likely reflects the Indonesian government's success in capturing or killing experienced leaders and bomb-makers since 2009. 

Despite the government's efforts to block violent extremist websites, the internet increasingly provided a source of “inspiration” for terrorists, some of whom became radicalized after viewing extremist websites, or banded together through participation in violent extremist social networking websites. DVDs, distributed through terrorist networks, were also a major source of radical information. Authorities have noted increased attempts by radical extremists to spread their messages at public universities and secondary schools. There were also ongoing concerns about incarcerated terrorists who spread extremist messages to other prisoners. 

U.S. and Western-affiliated interests remained potential targets for terrorists, although their focus was increasingly on attacks against local government and law enforcement entities, especially the police. 

2011 Terrorist Incidents:

  • In March, a series of four “book bombs” were mailed in Jakarta to a senior police officer and prominent civilians. There were no fatalities, although one book bomb exploded while police attempted to dismantle it, injuring four people.
  • On the night of April 20-21, law enforcement officials discovered and defused a series of bombs planted in close proximity to a gas pipeline near a church on the outskirts of Jakarta.
  • On May 25, Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) members associated with arrested JAT military leader Abu Tholut attacked a police post in Palu, Sulawesi. The terrorists killed two police officers, wounded a third, and stole their weapons.
  • On July 11, an explosion took place at the Umar bin Khattab Islamic Boarding School on the island of Sumbawa, killing the treasurer of the school whom police suspected was teaching bomb-making skills to students. After gaining entry, the police discovered bomb-making ingredients and materials, explosive devices, and extremist literature.
  • Two suicide bombings, both on the island of Java, claimed the lives of both bombers. Each attack caused injuries but no other fatalities. On April 15, the bomber detonated explosives in the Cirebon police mosque in West Java during midday prayers, injuring nearly 30 people. On September 25, a suicide bomber in Suryakarta (also known as Solo), Central Java, struck at a Protestant church at the end of the morning service, injuring approximately 20. According to the Indonesian National Police (INP), both suicide bombers were affiliated with a loose-knit terrorist network with connections to JAT.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Intelligence Bill, passed on October 11 but not implemented by year's end, would allow the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) to intercept all forms of communication, including electronic, after first obtaining a warrant. The Attorney General's Office and the INP could then introduce these intercepts into court as evidence. The new law would also allow BIN to obtain financial records and to question individuals without detaining or arresting them in order to prevent terrorist and other acts deemed threatening to national security. Some sectors of civil society and civil rights groups have expressed concern about the scope and reach of the law. 

In 2011, there were 93 people arrested on terrorism charges, 121 prosecutions, and seven pending cases involving 33 defendants. In June, radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment based upon his support for a paramilitary terrorist training camp in Aceh that was discovered and disbanded by Indonesian National Police in 2010. 

In July and August, the Medan High Court sentenced terrorists involved in a 2010 bank robbery, conducted to finance terrorism, to sentences ranging from five to 12 years. In October, Abu Tholut, implicated in the Aceh terrorist training camp case for training and providing weapons to terrorists, was sentenced to an eight-year prison term. Umar Patek, a suspected explosives-maker for the bombs used in the 2002 terrorist bombings in Bali, was arrested in Pakistan in January and transferred to Indonesia in August. 

Indonesia remained a critical partner nation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which provided enhanced training in investigative skills for Detachment 88, a premier Indonesian antiterrorism unit that regularly conducted major operations against terrorists in the region. 

Countering Terrorist Finance: Indonesia is a member of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body.  Indonesia criminalizes terrorist financing in several paragraphs of its 2003 terrorism legislation but the legislation has been criticized as ineffective and inadequate. The Indonesian Financial Intelligence Unit, PPATK, worked with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights to rewrite Indonesia's terrorist financing law to make it compliant with standards of the FATF and best global practices. 

At its October plenary, the FATF decided that Indonesia had not yet made sufficient progress on its action plan to enact terrorist finance legislation and to develop regulations and the other legal instruments necessary to freeze terrorist assets in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. 

The provisions under Indonesian law to seize and freeze assets were not clearly drafted and required a criminal conviction before the seizure of assets. There was no comprehensive terrorist financing legislation that criminalized terrorist financing in accordance with FATF and international standards. Additionally, the mechanisms in place under Indonesian law were difficult to implement effectively. Capacity issues and inadequate legislation hampered Indonesia's efforts to monitor non-profit organizations. In particular, charitable and religious institutions remained largely unregulated, although the Indonesian government was looking at creating an administrative process to monitor non-profit organizations. 

On October 14, the National Coordination Committee adopted the National Strategy on the Prevention and Eradication of Criminal Act of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing for years 2012-2016. The 12 focus areas of the National Strategy ranged from a better use of technology to drafting new laws and implementing regulations to improve execution of current laws and regulations. The National Strategy also included a call to enact an asset forfeiture law and a terrorist financing law. 

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Indonesia is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and co-chairs the Forum's Southeast Asia Capacity Building Working Group with Australia. Indonesian officials participated in the GCTF's other working groups as well. Indonesia supported the Global Counterterrorism Strategy of the UN. With the United States, Indonesia co-chaired the counterterrorism expert working group in the Association of Southeast Nations Defense Ministers Meeting Plus mechanism. 

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) continued to play a leading role in countering violent extremism, complementing nascent efforts by Indonesia's year-old National Counterterrorism Agency, the organization charged with implementing the government's counter radicalization and disengagement programs. Civil society and government organizations focused on both educational institutions and prisons. Several NGOs worked on university campuses to spread messages of tolerance and respect to dissuade young people from radicalizing. Indonesian authorities continued to express concern about recidivism, underscoring the need to implement effective disengagement programs in prisons. Programs in prisons aimed to disengage convicted terrorists from violent behavior, helping to redirect them to more positive choices after release. Increasingly, efforts were made to include the families and communities of terrorists, recognizing the important role that they play in post-release terrorist rehabilitation. 

KOREA, DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF (NORTH KOREA)  

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 investigation into the abductions. 

Legislation and Law Enforcement: 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 designating the DPRK as “not cooperating fully,” the Department of State reviewed the country's overall level of cooperation in our efforts to fight terrorism, taking into account U.S. counterterrorism objectives with the DPRK and a realistic assessment of its capabilities. 

Countering Terrorist Finance: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) remained concerned about the DPRK's failure to address the significant deficiencies in its regulatory regimes. In January, the DPRK engaged the FATF to discuss its anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regulatory regimes. While the FATF welcomed this initial engagement and said it remained open to further engagement, there were no further contacts. In its public statement in February, the FATF publicly urged the DPRK to immediately and meaningfully address these deficiencies. 

The DPRK's financial system was opaque and compliance with international standards was difficult to gauge. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: In June, the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) held consultations with the DPRK on strengthening its implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1267/1989, 1988, and 1373. CTED plans to continue to engage the DPRK to assist in its implementation of those resolutions.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA (SOUTH KOREA) 

Overview:   The Republic of Korea strengthened its counterterrorism efforts in 2011.  The Republic of Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS), the Korean National Police Agency (KNP), and various intelligence entities worked in close coordination with U.S. and international counterparts to access and contribute to multiple counterterrorism databases.  The Government of the Republic of Korea reviewed and strengthened its emergency response plan. 

In September 2011, the FBI Legal Attaché Office in Seoul worked jointly with the NIS and KNP to investigate an international terrorism subject who had relocated to the Republic of Korea.  Subsequently, NIS and KNP provided information and monitored the subject until he departed the country. 

Legislation and Law Enforcement:   In September 2005, the Republic of Korea signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) and the National Assembly ratified it in December 2011.   

Countering Terrorist Finance:  The Republic of Korea is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a FATF-style regional body. The National Assembly passed the “Prohibition of Financing for Offenses of Public Intimidation Act” in September, which the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) had submitted in October 2010.  Prior to passing the Act, the National Assembly made important changes to the law.  In addition to criminalizing the provision, collection, and delivering of funds and assets to terrorists and terrorist organizations, the revised act established a freezing regime that controls the disposition and transfer of movable and immovable assets, bonds, and other property or property rights.  

In December 2010, the FIU submitted a separate bill amending the Financial Transaction Reports Act to impose stricter penalties on financial institutions that violate reporting requirements.  The bill was pending in the National Assembly at year's end.  

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation:   South Korea is a member of the United Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) Regional Forum, ASEAN+3, East Asia Summit, the Asia-Europe Meeting (an interregional forum consisting of the EC, 27 EU members and 13 members of the ASEAN Plus), Asia Cooperation Dialogue, Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the G20, and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.  It is also a partner country of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  

In 2011, the South Korean government organized numerous international conferences to share information and best practices.  It hosted the Seventh Plenary Meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in June, and the Third APEC Seminar on the Protection of Cyberspace in September.  South Korea also hosted the FATF/APG workshop on Money Laundering Typologies in December.  

The South Korean government held bilateral consultations on counterterrorism with the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Russia, Algeria, Uzbekistan, and Israel. 

MALAYSIA  

Overview: Malaysia's counterterrorism cooperation with the United States has improved in recent years and it was an important counterterrorism partner in 2011.  Malaysia has not suffered a serious incident of terrorism for several years, but was vulnerable to terrorist activity and continued to be used as a transit and planning site for terrorists.  In spite of new measures to improve border security, weak border controls persisted in the area contiguous with Thailand in northern Malaysia, and there were gaps in maritime security in the tri-border area of the southern Philippines, Indonesia, and the Malaysian state of Sabah.  Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) cooperated closely with the international community on counterterrorism efforts, and RMP and other law enforcement officers participated in capacity building training programs.  

Legislation and Law Enforcement: On September 15, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib announced that his government would seek the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Emergency Ordinances under which Malaysia has routinely detained suspected terrorists and others without formal judicial proceedings for renewable two-year terms. By year's end, the Emergency Ordinances had been revoked.  The ISA was still used, but new legislation to replace it was being drafted. 

To address concerns surrounding insufficient visa and immigration controls, Malaysia began implementing a biometrics system in June that records the fingerprints of the right and left hand index fingers at all ports of entry.  The National Foreigners Enforcement and Registration System were linked to the police's existing Biometric Fingerprint Identification System.  There were occasional glitches, but according to police, the new biometric system was successful overall and was instrumental in the detention of an Indonesian Jemaah Islamiya (JI) operative just days after the system was introduced.  The country also began a massive effort to register foreign workers, many of whom were undocumented.  This involved the biometric registration of more than 2.3 million foreign workers and undocumented immigrants in an overall effort to gain better understanding and management of the country's foreign residents.  

Arrests : The following arrests under the ISA took place:

  • On January 4, police arrested and detained Mohamad Radzali Kassan, a Malaysian, for being an alleged JI operative.
  • On June 6, police arrested Agus Salim, an Indonesian, for being an operative of JI.  Agus had been arrested and deported to Indonesia in 2009, but re-entered Malaysia in 2010 under a false name.  He was detected through the new biometric National Foreigners Enforcement and Registration System.
  • On June 8, police arrested and detained Abdul Haris bin Syuhadi, an Indonesian, for recruiting for JI. 
  • In an operation conducted from November 14 to 16, police arrested and detained 13 people – seven Malaysians, five Indonesians, and one Filipino – in eastern Sabah. The 13 were allegedly involved in the smuggling of weapons between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia to support terrorist activities.  

Malaysia continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program. 

Countering Terrorist Financing: Malaysia is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Malaysia improved the legislative framework to criminalize terrorist financing by passing the Money Service Business Act of 2011 (MSBA), which replaced three older pieces of legislation.  On December 1, the MSBA was implemented to regulate licensed moneychangers, non-bank remittance service providers, and the wholesale currency business under Malaysia's Central Bank, and to increase monitoring and control of the cross-border flow of illegal funds.  In 2011, Malaysia initiated eight new terrorist finance investigations. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Malaysia actively participated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Malaysian law enforcement officials routinely met with regional counterparts to discuss counterterrorism issues at meetings such as the Heads of Asian Coast Guards meeting in Hanoi in October.  In May, Malaysia's Police Chief Inspector General traveled to Jakarta to discuss coordinating counterterrorism efforts with the Indonesian National Police.  Malaysia's Assistant Commissioner of the RMP also served as head of the ASEAN Chiefs of National Police, which agreed in June to cooperate with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate to assist ASEAN member states in their implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1624/1989, 1988, and 1373. 

In May, Malaysia's Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counterterrorism, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organized with the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund and the ASEAN Secretariat, a seminar on the Dynamics of Youth and Terrorism that included numerous ASEAN participants.  In October, Malaysia collaborated with the Government of France to organize and host a three-day seminar on money laundering and terrorist finance attended by participants from Brunei, Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and East Timor.  

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The RMP and the Department of Islamic Development operated a disengagement program for terrorist suspects in Malaysia's Kamunting Prison.  The program involved religious and social counseling and vocational training.  It employed psychologists as well as religious scholars, police officers, and family members.  A committee evaluated detainees' progress toward eligibility for release from prison.  The committee's reports were reviewed by a panel from the detention center and also by the Home Ministry.  Upon release, former inmates were visited by parole officers and continued to face restrictions on their activities, including curfews and limits on their travel and contacts.  While the government portrayed the disengagement program as highly successful, it lacked demonstrable metrics for its effectiveness. 

PHILIPPINES  

Overview: The Philippines maintained its strong counterterrorism cooperation with the United States.  The ability of terrorist groups, including the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Jemaah Islamiya (JI), and the Communist People's Party/New People's Army (CPP/NPA), to conduct terrorist activities inside the Philippines remained constrained.  Terrorist groups' acts were generally limited to criminal activities designed to generate revenue for self-sustainment, such as kidnapping or extortion.  Nonetheless, members of these groups were suspected to have carried out bombings against government, public, and private facilities, primarily in the central and western areas of Mindanao; others were linked to extortion operations in other parts of the country. 

In January, the Aquino administration began implementation of its 2011–2016 Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP).  The IPSP recognizes that achieving lasting peace, security, and economic development requires a “whole of nation" approach, including increasingly transferring internal security functions from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the Philippine National Police (PNP).  Joint military/police task forces and interagency operations cells were created in the southern Philippines in Zamboanga, Sulu, and Basilan, and an anti-kidnapping-for-ransom group was created in Marawi with military and police participation.  The PNP also established a national Crisis Action Force that combined ground, air, and marine units into a unified terrorist/crisis first response unit.  The increasing role of the police in maintaining internal security in conflict-affected areas will permit the AFP to shift its focus to enhancing the country's maritime security and territorial defense capabilities.  

2011 Terrorist Incidents: High profile terrorist incidents included:

  • On January 25, five passengers were killed and a dozen injured when a bomb detonated inside a commuter bus on a major highway in Makati, the business center of Manila.  No group claimed responsibility and no suspects were arrested although President Aquino announced a reward of one million Philippine pesos (approximately U.S. $23,500).
  • On July 12, U.S. citizen Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, her U.S. citizen son, and Filipino nephew were abducted by more than a dozen armed men who raided Tigtabon Island, Zamboanga City.  According to media reports, involvement by the ASG was suspected.  Mrs. Yeatts Lunsmann was freed on October 3, and both her nephew (around November 13) and son (December 10) escaped.
  • On October 3, 200 members of the CPP/NPA attacked three mines in Surigao del Norte, Mindanao, and destroyed trucks, heavy equipment, barges, and offices.  The CPP/NPA's political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF), asserted that the attacks were aimed at mining companies that did not adequately protect the environment and workers.  The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines accused the NDF of using environmental concern as an excuse to extort money from large-scale mining operations in the country. 

Legislation and Law Enforcement: In August, Filipino witnesses traveled to the United States to provide testimony in support of U.S. charges related to the 2009 ASG-supported bombing at Kagay, Jolo, which resulted in the death of two U.S. servicemen and one Filipino Marine. 

On September 11, President Aquino signed an executive order creating the Coast Watch System to coordinate maritime security operations and help the country protect its maritime boundary against transit by violent extremists.  

On November 29, the PNP's Special Action Force group arrested Hussein Ahaddin, a suspect in the bombing three days earlier of a hotel in Zamboanga City that killed three people and injured 27.  In 2009, Ahaddin had been arrested for his alleged involvement in a 2002 bombing that killed a U.S. Special Forces counterterrorism advisor and two Filipino civilians, but he was later released.  Ahaddin was implicated by the government as being a member of the ASG. 

The extradition case continued against Abdul Baser Latip, an ASG leader wanted in the United States to stand trial on criminal hostage-taking charges in the 1993 kidnapping of U.S. national Charles Walton.  At year's end, the parties were awaiting a decision by the Regional Trial Court in Manila.   

The petition filed in 2010 by the Philippine Department of Justice with the Regional Trial Court in Basilan for the proscription of the ASG as a terrorist group and 202 identified associates as terrorists was pending action at year's end. 

The Philippines remained a critical partner nation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which provided tactical and investigative training to support the transition in the southern Philippines from military to civilian counterterrorism authority in Mindanao. 

Countering Terrorist Finance: The Philippines is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Legislation to criminalize terrorist finance as a stand-alone offense was pending in the Philippines Congress at year's end.  President Aquino formally declared the counterterrorist finance legislation “urgent” under the Philippine Constitution to expedite the legislative process. The Philippines Financial Intelligence Unit must obtain a court order to freeze assets, including those of terrorists and terrorist organizations placed on the United Nations Security Council 1267/1989 and 1988 Sanctions Committee's consolidated lists.  The APG noted this requirement is inconsistent with international standards, which call for the preventive freezing of terrorist assets “without delay” from the time of designation.  Legislation to address this issue was pending in the Philippine Congress. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: The Philippines participated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus and supported the establishment of an Experts' Working Group to facilitate counterterrorism cooperation.  Through U.S.-sponsored antiterrorism training, the PNP developed contacts with law enforcement agencies in Indonesia and Malaysia. 

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Philippine government continued its counter-radicalization program: Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA (Resilient Communities in Conflict Affected Communities). This program, spearheaded by the Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process, was formally launched in Mindanao during the summer to bring peace and development to conflict-affected areas.  Additionally, the Philippine government implemented the Bayanihan Leaders Program.  This program uses the Philippines' Internal Peace and Security Plan model to identify key stakeholders from the community (including members of the AFP, PNP, Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government, religious community, and youth) as speakers and mentors for Filipino youth.  The Bayanihan Leaders Program seeks to educate audiences about the dangers of recruitment into extremist organizations, create interfaith dialogue, and form lasting mentor relationships with successful individuals in communities. 

SINGAPORE 

Overview : Singapore continued its strong bilateral and multilateral counterterrorism intelligence and law enforcement cooperation. As of December, Singapore held in detention 14 persons for links to terrorist groups. Detainees included 12 people with links to Jemaah Islamiya (JI) who had plotted to carry out attacks in Singapore in the past.  An additional three persons with links to terrorist groups were newly detained in 2011. Singapore released 47 persons on restriction orders and one on suspension direction, all of whom were monitored by the Singapore authorities and required to report to authorities on a regular basis. 

Legislation and Law Enforcement : Singapore used its Internal Security Act (ISA) to arrest and detain suspected terrorists without trial.  The ISA authorizes the minister for home affairs (MHA), 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 MHA may renew the detention for an unlimited number of additional periods of up to two years at a time with the president's consent.  

Law enforcement actions included: 

  • In January, Singapore detained JI member Jumari Kamdi.  Kamdi was apprehended in Malaysia in 2010 and deported to Singapore in January 2011.
  • In June, Singapore took JI member Samad Subari into custody.  Subari was one of the pioneering members of the Singapore JI network, according to the MHA.  He had also undergone terrorist training in Afghanistan with al-Qa'ida in 2001.  He was arrested in Indonesia in June of 2009, jailed for immigration offenses, and deported to Singapore upon completion of his prison sentence in June. 
  • In September, Singapore released a member of JI, Mohamed Khalim Jaffar, on a suspension direction.  Jaffar was detained under the ISA in January 2002. 

Countering Terrorist Finance : Singapore is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a FATF-style regional body. There were no assets frozen or confiscated for counterterrorist finance related crimes.  For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation : In June, the Singapore Navy participated in the annual Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism exercise, together with the U.S. Navy and the navies of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.  In November, the Singapore Armed Forces conducted Exercise Northstar, a 16-day counterterrorism training exercise with more than 700 personnel from the army, police, and the Singapore Civil Defense Force. 

Countering Radicalization and Extremism : Singapore maintained a disengagement program that focused on countering extremist ideology.  Detainees were required to undergo a program of religious counseling with a group of volunteer religious counselors. Singapore enlisted the support of religious teachers and scholars to study JI's ideology, develop teachings to counter the group's spread within Singapore's Muslim community, and provide counseling to detainees.  Religious counseling for detainees continued after release from detention. There were no reported cases of recidivism among the individuals released from detention. 

THAILAND 

There was no direct evidence that international terrorist groups were directly involved in attacks within Thailand, nor was there any evidence of operational linkages between the southern Thai insurgent groups and international terrorist networks. 

Political conflict from 2010, which produced violence resulting in 92 deaths, did not resurface in 2011 despite a significant shift in political power. Some alleged violent actors from this period were accused of terrorism and then charged under the terrorist-based provisions of the criminal code. A respected member of Thailand's Truth for Reconciliation Commission termed the accusations inflated, and discussion continued whether the charges were politically motivated or based on substantive violent acts. Nonetheless one low-ranking former police officer was sentenced to 38 years imprisonment on domestic terrorism and related charges in December.

 Countering Terrorism Finance: Thailand is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In 2010, the Thai government expressed high-level political commitment to addressing deficiencies that the FATF identified in Thailand's Anti-Money Laundering/Counterterrorist Finance (AML/CTF) regime, and reported taking multiple steps to address FATF recommendations. This commitment appeared firm throughout 2011, despite the change in political leadership. Nonetheless, an attempt to introduce a revision of the Financing of Terrorism Act remained stalled in the legislature at year's end. Thailand's new government adopted the 2010-2015 National Strategy for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism originally developed by the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), Thailand's official Financial Intelligence Unit. The 2010-2015 National Strategy called for the legislative enactment of key CTF measures by October 31, but this was delayed as a result of widespread flooding and political transitions. 

Thailand lacked a comprehensive legal framework for monitoring and supervising non-profit organizations. The AMLO's 2010-2015 National Strategy for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism specifically calls for enhanced measures to provide for greater transparency and oversight of non-profit organizations by December 2014. More specifically, the 2010-2015 National Strategy calls for implementation of appropriate licensing procedures, supervision, monitoring, and oversight in line with international standards. This includes ensuring that information on the operations of each non-profit organization is publicly available. The Bank of Thailand does not have regulations that give it explicit authorization to control charitable donations; however, the Financial Institutions Business Act and the Electronic Payment Services Business Decree require all financial institutions and non-bank service providers to adopt both know-your-customer rules and customer due diligence procedures for all clients, and must meet the Anti-Money Laundering Act's reporting requirements, which would include transactions deriving from charitable donations. 

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Thailand participated in international counterterrorism efforts through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Asia-Europe Meeting, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral, Technical, and Economic Cooperation, and other multilateral fora. Thailand, along with the U.S. Pacific Command, co-hosted 11 countries for the annual Pacific Area Security Sector Working Group. 

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: A range of Thai government agencies, including the Ministries of Interior and of Social Development and Human Security, and the Thai military and police academies continued to organize outreach programs to ethnic Malay-Muslims to counter radicalization and violent extremism. A small group of international non-governmental organizations also reached out to communities in the southern provinces to provide services and to identify the underlying causes of the area's violence.



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