Cyber Crime in Asia
By Earl
Marianne Bray reports on the\business page that one in ten transactions on the Internet in Asia is fraudulent, and at time when developed western distributors of I-gaming are about to invest significantly in the Asian market. According to her sources, which are ‘senior regional law enforcers,’ this overwhelming rate of crime online demonstrates a concern shared by cyber crime experts who are attending a conference in Hong Kong to discuss this issue.

Singapore Police Commissioner Khoo Boon Hui is urging businesses world-wide, especially multi-national corporations who are in the thick of the Internet market, to help legal authorities against this thriving ‘borderless’ crime wave. Asia has 3.6 billion people in a growing economy and is in position to soon have the largest number of Internet users in the world. All types of Internet activities, but gambling especially, are set to expand enormously. The Gartner Group, a research firm, anticipates the number of users in Asia will increase to 242 million in 2005, hitting an e-business of US $910 billion by 2004.

The irony of that, as FBI Assistant Director, Ronald Iden, told delegates from the more than 30 nations at the conference, is that it is technology that is providing 'new tools for criminals to commit crimes ... Criminals use technologies to attack, penetrate or use computers to disrupt services, or facilitate crimes ...’ But Hong Kong’s Chief Justice, Andrew Li, said it was the increase in financial markets, funding more money into cyberspace, that afforded more criminals more opportunities to commit cyber crimes, especially as digital technology is being perverted to forge documents, pirate copyrights, and commit other fraud.

The Australian Institute of Criminology reported recently that abuses of the Internet in 21 countries and territories in the western Pacific region revealed the 10% rate of fraud in transactions on the Internet. That figure in the United States, for credit card fraud online, is 5%. The FBI has set up an anti-cyber crime division, and the Council of Europe has outlawed some Internet activities and suggested how police forces might handle fraud online. No such agreement exists among the 47 nations of Asia, which feature the full range of political and judicial possibilities any one nation might have.

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