Remarks by AIT Deputy Director Raymond Greene
at Virtual Global Cooperation and Training Framework
on Combatting COVID-19 Related Crimes
October 28, 2020
(as prepared for delivery)
Minister of Justice Tsai, Deputy Foreign Minister Tien, Director General Leu, Australian Representative Cowan, Japanese Deputy Representative Yokochi, distinguished speakers and guests, ladies and gentlemen. Greetings from Taipei. I’m Raymond Greene, Deputy Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, and on behalf of the United States, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to this virtual workshop on combatting COVID-19 related crimes held under the Global Cooperation and Training Framework.
To say the year 2020 has been challenging would be a severe understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has afflicted nearly 40 million people and resulted in over 1 million deaths worldwide. This serious global health threat has disrupted the lives of everyone around the globe, causing some of us to prematurely lose loved ones, others to reexamine our priorities in life, and all of us to alter our lifestyles.
For some, this pandemic has brought out the best in human resiliency and generosity. For example, Taiwan skillfully managed the COVID-19 crisis, through what has become known as the “Taiwan Model.” Taiwan not only generously chose to share its expertise around the world, but also drastically increased its PPE production to come to the aid of many countries, including the United States, at their greatest moment of need.
However, other unscrupulous individuals or entities have taken advantage of the uncertainty created by the pandemic to sow discord and to exploit this crisis for profit. From financial fraud schemes targeting vulnerable populations, to the importation of counterfeit medical supplies, to websites defrauding customers and email scams trying to steal money, these illicit activities reveal the darker side of the human response to the pandemic.
As the pandemic has spread, these illicit activities have only become more pervasive, more frequent, and more sophisticated. While U.S. law enforcement agencies have been at the forefront of countering COVID-19 related schemes and disinformation, these crimes have not been limited to the United States. This has become a global phenomenon, and one that requires global attention. That’s why we are privileged to co-host today’s event with Taiwan, Japan, and Australia. Together, we have assembled a panel of seasoned law enforcement practitioners and expert speakers to share their deep knowledge and experiences in combatting COVID-19 related crimes.
These crimes know no borders, so I hope that we all will benefit from our collective effort today to share best practices on developing investigative leads, disrupting and dismantling fraud schemes, and increasing our communities’ awareness of and resistance to these illicit activities.