Official Launch of Interpol World 2017 – Speech by Mr Desmond Lee, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Second Minister for National Development

Published: 04 July 2017

President of INTERPOL, Secretary General of INTERPOL, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.





          A very warm welcome to our friends from all over the world.  It is a pleasure to join you all this evening.  


2.     I am delighted that this second edition of INTERPOL World, held in Singapore, continues to draw strong participation from law enforcement, government bodies, academia, security professionals and solution providers. 


3.     We have here with us today influential thought leaders and practitioners from both the public and private sectors converging to discuss safety and security issues. 


  • This comes at a time when the global community grapples with a rapidly changing, and increasingly complex security landscape that presents unprecedented challenges. 


  • INTERPOL World reflects INTERPOL's efforts to build a safer world through enhanced international cooperation and innovation on policing and security matters.



4.     Singapore strongly supports such efforts by INTERPOL to strengthen global safety and security. 


  • Our support for INTERPOL goes beyond INTERPOL World.   


  • Singapore hosts the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation, or the IGCI. 

    • Our increasingly global world, connected by technology and powered by cross border networks, offers new economic and other opportunities but at the same time presents new security risks.  

    • We therefore support INTERPOL's global strategy to combat current and emerging security risks, such as cybercrime, terrorism and transnational crimes.  

    • We recognise the importance of capacity building and innovation to enable countries to fight transnational crime and security threats collectively and effectively. 





5.     Indeed, technology and innovation are key enablers for law enforcement and security services too in this digital age. 


  • Policing of the future will increasingly rely on technology and data analytics to fight terrorism, cybercrime, and organised and emerging crime. 


  • It is critical that both the public and private sectors collaborate closely -

    • to understand the current and emerging risks in the operating environment

    • and examine how technology and innovation can be harnessed to their fullest potential to address and mitigate these risks. 



6.      Just as law enforcement and security services are looking at different ways to integrate technology and innovation in their operating models, terrorists and criminals too are doing the same, particularly in cyberspace. 


  • Cyberspace offers the twin benefits of anonymity and mobility to terrorists and criminals alike. 


  • A criminal underground economy hidden in the Internet has been operating for many years now. 

  • Terrorist and criminal networks can now operate globally, coordinating complex operations across territorial borders in real-time. 

  • The recent Wannacry Ransomware outbreak is a stark reminder of this reality.  

    • The ransomware reportedly affected computer networks in more than 150 countries affecting more than 200,000 people. 

  • Just last week, media reported a new NotPetya ransomware outbreak.

    • The outbreak wreaked havoc around the globe; crippling businesses in many sectors including banking, energy and transport.  

  • It is therefore timely that the Darknet received the attention and focus of the INTERPOL World Congress earlier today.




7.     As a highly cyber-connected city, Singapore is enhancing its capabilities and resilience to deal with the cyber threat.  


  • Allow me to take a bit of time to share some of Singapore's key initiatives against cybercrime.  


8.     In July 2016, we launched our National Cybercrime Action Plan (NCAP).  There are four key priorities in the Action Plan:


             i.     Educating and empowering the public to stay safe in cyberspace;


            ii.     Enhancing the Government's capacity and capability to combat cybercrime;


           iii.     Strengthening legislation and the criminal justice framework; and


          iv.     Stepping up partnerships and international engagements.



Educating and Empowering the Public to Stay Safe in Cyberspace


9.     I will elaborate, starting with the first priority – public education and empowerment.


10.     As part of its Public Cyber-Outreach & Resilience Programme, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) actively reaches out to members of the public to encourage safe online behaviour and to reduce opportunities for cybercriminals.  These are customised to better target more vulnerable groups in society, such as our young and our elderly.


11.     The Police have also partnered Europol in its "No More Ransom" project. 


  • The project helps victims of ransomware retrieve their encrypted data without paying any ransom;


  • And educates the public on how they can better protect themselves. 

  • Since December last year, more than 10,000 ransomware victims worldwide have benefitted, using tools available on the project's online portal to decrypt their affected devices. 

  • The Police have been proactively promoting the project's online portal to the public. 

  • To expand the reach of the project, we are currently translating the content of the online portal into our other official languages, such as Chinese, Malay and Tamil. 



Enhancing Government's Capacity and Capability to Combat Cybercrime


12.     I now move to the second Action Plan priority, which is enhancing Government's capacity and capability to combat cybercrime.


13.     Here, we seek to enhance our cybercrime investigation and forensic capabilities. 


  • In 2015, the Police established a Cybercrime Command within our Criminal Investigation Department.


  • Its role is to develop specialist expertise in cyber investigation, digital forensics and cybercrime policy, and also to improve Police readiness for, and response to, emerging cyber threats. 

  • Full-time Cybercrime Response Teams have been set up since December 2015 in all six of our frontline Police Divisions across our city, to enhance our cybercrime response capabilities.    

Strengthening Legislation and the Criminal Justice Framework


14.     Our third national priority is to strengthen laws and our criminal justice framework to tackle cyber threats.


15.     The Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, is Singapore's primary legislation to deal with cybercrime. 


  • We amended in June this year, to address the increasing scale and transnational nature of cybercrime, as well as the evolving tactics of cybercriminals. 


  • For instance, it is now an offence to deal in hacked personal information and hacking tools with criminal intent. 

  • The amendments also give Singapore extraterritorial jurisdiction over offences, where the act causes or creates a significant risk of serious harm in Singapore. 



Stepping Up Partnerships and International Engagements


16.     Moving on to the final pillar of our action plan, building strong partnerships with key public and private sector actors is the fourth key thrust of Singapore's National Cybercrime Action Plan.


  • As INTERPOL's global hub for combating cybercrime, the IGCI is a natural partner for us. 


  • Collaborating with INTERPOL and other partner countries, Singapore had rolled out a slew of capacity building programmes for the ASEAN region in the last few years as the ASEAN Lead Shepherd for Cybercrime.  

  • Some contemporary examples include:


          i.     the ASEAN Cyber Capacity Development Project funded by Japan and implemented by INTERPOL that will run from 2016 to 2018;


         ii.     the INTERPOL Southeast Asian Workshop on Cybercrime under the auspices of the Singapore-United States Third Country Training Programme in 2015 and 2016; and


           iii.     the ASEAN Plus Three Cybercrime Workshop in July last year involving China, Japan and South Korea.


17.     We are privileged to have INTERPOL's presence in Singapore as well as strong support from key international partners and ASEAN member states. 


  • We hope to build an even more collaborative environment to exchange best practices and to forge even closer operational links.  

  • This has borne fruit,  

  • For example, in February this year, INTERPOL led an operation targeting cybercrime across ASEAN member states. 

  • The operation, conducted out of the IGCI, brought together investigators from seven ASEAN members states to share information on specific cybercrime situations in their respective countries.

  • It identified nearly 9,000 compromised servers and hundreds of malware-infected websites.  Investigations are still on-going.



18.     The private sector too is an important partner.  Its investment in R&D, for example, provides a significant competitive advantage against cybercrime. 


19.     Recognising the value of the private sector, the Singapore Police Cybercrime Command rolled out the "Alliance of Public-Private Cybercrime Stakeholders" initiative, in February this year. 



  • This Alliance serves as a dedicated platform for law enforcement and the private sector to meet and to enhance cybercrime awareness in the private sector to prevent, deter and detect cybercrime, and to forge active collaboration. 

20.     There are currently 40 partners in the Alliance, comprising global IT companies, E-commerce platforms, telecommunications service providers, financial institutions, as well as remittance agencies.  



  • Through this Alliance, the stronger relations forged with the banks allowed the Police to quickly freeze bank accounts involved in a recent spate of impersonation scams.  



  • This prevented overseas fund transfers and loss for the victims. 


21.     Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs has also recently established a Special Interest Group for Cybercrime and Investigation, in collaboration with the Singapore Cyber Security Consortium. 


  • Through this initiative, we can bring real-world cybercrime and investigation challenges to the academia and industry; and leverage on their talents and innovation to deal with cybercrime.





22.     The fight against cybercrime cannot be fought by Governments alone.  A collaborative ecosystem – involving the community, industry, academia, and Governments – is crucial to tackling this formidable threat.   I hope that all attendees will leverage INTERPOL World 2017 to forge deeper public-private sector understanding and collaboration and contribute towards INTERPOL's vision to build a safer world.      


23.     Once again, welcome to Singapore and I wish you all an enjoyable networking evening, and a productive and successful Conference. 


24.     Thank you.


Managing Security Threats