Asia: Thousands of firearms destroyed following counter-terrorism operation

Terrorism and organized crime are invariably linked to the illicit trafficking of firearms, often across borders.

A recent INTERPOL-led operation codenamed Trigger-Salvo saw law enforcement from 10 countries in Central, East and Southeast Asia coordinate in a series of border enforcement actions aimed at preventing firearms trafficking and detecting any links with terrorism and organized crime.  

During a two-week period (25 October – 5 November), participating law enforcement agencies conducted enhanced passenger and cargo controls at designated airports, seaports, and land borders as well as at known smuggling routes within the participating countries. Data from the screening of individuals, travel documents and vehicles was then cross-checked against INTERPOL’s global databases, enabling officers to identify wanted persons and potential threats.

The operation notably saw Mongolian law enforcement destroy a cache of 2,000 illegal firearms, seized over a period of three years.

“Mongolia’s decision to destroy these firearms symbolises our commitment to Operation Trigger-Salvo and to enhancing security in the wider region,” said Police Lieutenant Colonel Nyamdavaa Bayasgalan, Chief Inspector of Mongolia’s INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Ulaanbaatar.

Three million searches

In total, nearly 3 million searches were conducted during Operation Trigger-Salvo, yielding more than 140 hits. The vast majority concerned individuals using travel documents reported lost or stolen and 19 individuals subject to INTERPOL Red Notices were also detected.

Through cargo inspections, nearly 34,000 packages and mail items were screened while more than 1,200 packages and general cargo were thoroughly inspected. Meanwhile, more than 12,000 vehicles were searched.

These checks led to the seizure of more than 800 firearm parts and 22 firearms, as well as nearly 10,000 ecstasy tablets worth approximately EUR 290,000.

More than 1,800 immigration-related offences were also detected, resulting in 64 arrests for people smuggling and five Thai nationals arrested for facilitating, transporting, and allowing the illegal entry of a person or persons across the Thai-Myanmar Border. The migrants smuggled were being brought to work illegally in Central Thailand.