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Cablegate: Bar Raids Point to Chinese Organized Crime

VZCZCXRO5832
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHHM
DE RUEHDT #0012/01 0180920
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180920Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3814
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0076
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0018
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0809
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1108
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0895
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1017
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0006
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 3230

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DILI 000012

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS
SINGAPORE FOR DEA - HOLSKE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM SMIG SNAR PREL KPKO ID CH TT
SUBJECT: BAR RAIDS POINT TO CHINESE ORGANIZED CRIME

DILI 00000012 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: In the first week of January, Timor-Leste's
National Police, with the support of U.N. police advisors, have
raided seven Dili bars. All evidence points to Chinese
prostitution rings having made inroads into the country. Small
amounts of ecstasy and drug paraphernalia were also seized. In
keeping with provisions of Timorese law (including the fact that
prostitution is legal), those detained can only be handled as
immigration cases. Those who were not released shortly after
the raids face deportation. The Timorese police are concerned
about evident involvement of Chinese organized crime in
prostitution and possibly other illegal activities. End
summary.


Joint Raids On January 2
------------------------
2. (U) In the early morning hours of January 2, the National
Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL), in a coordinated action with the
United Nations Police Mission (UNPOL) and the Portuguese
National Guard (GNR), carried out a coordinated raid on two Dili
bars, the Moon Bar and the Mona Lisa bar. Initially, 37 persons
were held on suspicion of prostitution and immigration-related
offenses. A source in UNPOL's intelligence unit confirmed that
all those arrested were either Chinese or Indonesian nationals.
However, under Timor-Leste law, an individual may only be held
for twelve hours for purposes of identification, then he or she
must be released absent multiple witness statements or strong
incriminating evidence. This, together with the fact that only
pimping and not prostitution itself is illegal in Timor-Leste,
meant that some of the suspects were subsequently released.
However, seven Indonesian women were deported, while seventeen
Chinese women are awaiting deportation. UNPOL raised concerns
that there are insufficient safe havens to transfer released
trafficked women after they are caught by the police. The UNPOL
source said UNPOL and the PNTL are probing possible connections
between the bars' operators and similar activities in Baucau or
elsewhere in Timor-Leste.


3. (SBU) UNPOL also told RSO that during the raids, they found
$24,000 in cash and small quantities of ecstasy. UNPOL
confirmed that interrogations revealed that money was
transferred back to China after being laundered in Timor-Leste.


PNTL Acts Alone On January 17
-----------------------------
4. (SBU) The PNTL unilaterally carried out a second set of
raids early on January 17, hitting five more establishments for
alleged drugs and prostitution activity. Neither UNPOL nor the
GNR were informed nor participated. On January 17, PNTL Deputy
Commissioner for Operations Mateus Fernandes told RSO and PolOff
that the five bars were widely-known to be involved in
prostitution and drugs. During this operation, police arrested
73 people from several countries including Indonesia, Thailand
and China. All 53 foreigners were using tourist visas, and they
are now currently under investigation by immigration police.
The 20 Timorese were released due to lack of evidence. The
police also seized paraphernalia apparently related to
narcotics, but no drugs were recovered. Because of the PNTL's
lack of resources and counter-narcotics expertise, several items
seized remain unidentified.


5. (SBU) UNPOL Dili District Commander Dave Lawry (protect) told
RSO that the January 17 raids were done without UNPOL approval
or knowledge. UNPOL was surprised by this, since the operation
had originally been planned as a joint activity. Despite this,
UNPOL agreed to help the PNTL with the processing of the
detainees in order to maintain cooperation and ensure that these
procedures were carried out legally.


6. (U) Both UNPOL and PNTL state that recent media reports of
methamphetamines in Timor-Leste are not correct. They confirmed
that during numerous raids and other arrests, only small amounts
of ecstasy were found. If methamphetamines were an ingredient
in the ecstasy seized, the quality was too low to be detected.
According to contacts, the PNTL's main concern is the likely

DILI 00000012 002.2 OF 002


involvement of Chinese organized crime in prostitution.
KLEMM

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