Organized Crime along “One Belt - One Road”
Conference: Organized Crime along “One Belt - One Road”
Date: 22-24 June 2017
The Belt and Road refers to the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the seagoing "21st Century Maritime Silk Road". Taking reference from the historic Silk Road, OBOR refers to the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the seagoing "21st Century Maritime Silk Road". The routes cover more than 60 countries and regions from Asia to Europe via Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and the Middle East, currently accounting for some 30 per cent of global GDP and more than 35 per cent of the world's merchandise trade.
In 2013, China’s president, Xi Jinping proposed “One Belt and One Road” (OBOR) blueprint, in an attempt to establish a network of railways, roads, pipelines, and utility grids that would link China and Central Asia, West Asia, and parts of South Asia (for details, see below). It aims to create the world’s largest platform for economic cooperation, including policy coordination, trade and financing collaboration, and social and cultural cooperation.
Countries along the Belt and Road
Starting from 2014, China started to invest over 40 billion dollars in several key foundation projects for the development of six major economic corridors, including the New Eurasian Land Bridge, China–Mongolia–Russia, China–Central Asia–Western Asia, Indo-China Peninsula, China–Pakistan, and Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar. More than 60 countries, with a combined GDP of $21 trillion, have expressed interest in participating in the OBOR action plan. For instance, China has signed bilateral cooperation agreements related to the project with Hungary, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, and Turkey. A number of projects are under way, including a train connection between eastern China and Iran that may be expanded to Europe. There are also new rail links with Laos and Thailand and high-speed-rail projects in Indonesia. China’s Ningbo Shipping Exchange is collaborating with the Baltic Exchange on a container index of rates between China and the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Europe. More than 200 enterprises have signed cooperation agreements for projects along OBOR’s routes.
The massive development of the region’s infrastructure and increasing trade, cultural and government collaborations will speed up the economic development in OBOR countries. However, the increasing connectivity among these countries may also foster cross-border movement of illicit products and development of criminal networks. Some of these countries are known for their weak law enforcement and rampant corruption. Such vulnerability provides a fertile soil for transnational organized crime. In particular, whether the launch of OBOR will be accompanied by the rise of a new “Silk Road of organized crime” would be of high interest to policy makers, law enforcers and criminologists.
To discuss the problems of transnational organized crime and corruption in the context of ‘One belt - One road’, City University Hong Kong will organize an international symposium, which will take place in City University of Hong Kong on 22-24 June 2017.