The Directorate General of Customs and Excise of Indonesia (DGCE) and the WCO Asia/Pacific Security Project co-hosted a workshop in Jakarta from 16 to 19 October 2018, funded by the Government of Japan. 20 officers representing the Customs administrations of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam attended the WCO Sub-regional Passenger Controls Workshop. The workshop was facilitated by the WCO Asia Pacific Security Project with assistance from United States Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) and Japan Customs.
Mr. Norikazu Kuramoto, Deputy Director from Japan Customs, spoke of the commitment of the Government of Japan to work with the WCO to increase the capability of Customs administrations in South East Asia to respond to the terrorist threat.
The workshop participants were presented with an overview of the security threat environment in South East Asia including the current and potential future threat from Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The participants discussed the challenges that each of their Customs administration faces with respect to threats in the passenger environment along with the current state of passenger controls in their countries.
The attendees were provided with briefings on how Japan Customs and US CBP conduct pre-arrival risk assessment as part of passenger control systems in their respective countries. The WCO’s Global Traveler Assessment System (GTAS) was also demonstrated to the participants as a tool for pre-arrival risk assessment. Indonesian DGCE hosted an informative visit to Soekarno Hatta International Airport where a demonstration of their pre-arrival risk assessment system and passenger clearance process was provided to participants.
The emphasis in these presentations was on the value of pre-arrival risk assessment systems for identifying high risk air travelers utilizing advanced passenger information (API and PNR) received from airlines.
Implementation of pre-arrival risk assessment systems is not without its challenges and the presenters and participants were able to discuss ways of overcoming the challenges and emphasized the need for appropriate legislation to be in place along with agreements with partner agencies.
An overview of the WCO Passenger Controls training material was also provided so that the workshop attendees could consider and recommend the material for possible future training opportunities in their home Customs administrations.
The workshop facilitators then worked with the participants to develop their own ‘action plans’ for improving Passenger Controls in their administrations.
In closing the workshop Mr. Khoirul Hadziq, Head of Section, Enforcement and Investigation at DGCE provided words of encouragement to the participants on the importance of passenger controls and wished everyone the best as they returned to their home country Customs administrations.