Archive for November, 2014

Eleven arrested and 20 tons of hashish seized in joint operation between Judicial Police, tax agency Spanish National Police

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Resulting from an international investigation by the DCIAP that has taken place over a period of several months, the Judicial Police conducted, with the collaboration of the Spanish authorities, operation “ADIADA”” that has so far resulted in the arrest of 11 suspects and the seizure of about 20 tons of hashish which was being transported inside a Portuguese fishing vessel.

The fishing vessel was in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, and was under surveillance by the Spanish Navy and elements of the Spanish Tax Agency. 

Upon being approached the crew on board the vessel ignited a drum of petrol in order to burn and sink the vessel and thus destroy the drugs. As a result of fuel explosion, two of the crew were seriously injured and were evacuated by sea rescue services in Spain. Despite the fire, ten crew members of various nationalities were arrested. Later,  the leader of the criminal network was arrested during an operation involving eleven searches Items seized included, a refrigeration ship about 50 meters long, that the criminal organization wanted to use for future drug transport, and two cars. 

Members of the Judicial Police participated in the naval operation operation.  The investigation is part of an international effort to dismantling organize criminal networks that have been using this modus operandi for the smuggling of hashish on the European continent (the so-called “Eastern Mediterranean route”. During the last year these efforts have led to arrests and seizure of more than 100 tons of drugs, under coordination of the “Analysis Center and Maritime Operations – Narcotics (MAOC-N). This involves help provided by the Portuguese Air Force and Navy.

The detainees have appeared at the relevant Portuguese and Spanish Judicial Authorities for the application of enforcement measures.

GNR Almancil arrest person for pickpocketing

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

On 23rd November in the morning the GNR Almancil arrested a person aged 51 years for pickpocketing in Almancil.

After the suspect was seen to have committed the theft the GNR officers apprehended the culprit whereupon he was immediately arrested.  Two mobile phones and several documents belonging to victim were seized. The detainee who was illegally in Portugal and has appeared at the Judicial Court of Loulé

Tavira – GNR arrest person for drug trafficking

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

On 24th November the GNR Criminal Investigation unit (NIC) of Tavira arrested in Santa Luzia – Tavira, a man aged 46 years  for drug trafficking. 

The GNR officers  approached the suspect in the street as he appeared to be acting suspiciously. Upon being searched he was found to be in possession of 43 individual doses of heroin. 

The detainee was presented at the Judicial Court of Loulé on 25th November.

Socrates charged and remanded in prison custody

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

On 24th November Criminal Judge Carlos Alexandre charged former Prime Minister Jose Socrates with corruption and tax fraud and ordered that he remain in preventive custody.

Socrates’ arrest on Friday shocked the country and his Socialist party, which hopes to win next year’s election.

As a court official read out the judge’s decision late on Monday, Socrates’ lawyer, Joao Araujo, told reporters he considered it “unfair and unjustified” and said he would appeal.

Criminal Judge Carlos Alexandre, who presides over several separate high-profile investigations, delivered his decision after a three-day questioning marathon over suspected tax fraud, corruption and money-laundering.

The detention is the first involving a former premier in Portugal under democracy and follows other loud cases this year as prosecutors and judges intensify a fight against corruption in a country notorious for its slow justice system.

Police arrested Socrates, 57, who was premier between 2005 and 2011, at Lisbon airport late on Friday as he arrived from Paris where he has been living after his resignation.

Three other individuals linked to Socrates were also arrested, including his driver. Citing leaked police materials, local media said the driver is suspected of having transported large sums in cash by car from Portugal to Socrates in Paris.

Some analysts say the charges could upset the Socialists’ hopes of winning full majority in parliament next year, if not the likelihood of the party winning the election.

The government has also been rattled by recent inquiries after the arrest of the immigration service chief earlier this month on suspicions of corruption linked to the issuing of “golden visas” to wealthy foreigners forced the interior minister, Miguel Macedo, to step down.

The crime of corruption carries a prison term of up to eight years. It was not clear if the inquiry, known as “Operation Marquis,” was linked to Socrates’ time as premier in 2005-2011.

Socrates resigned as prime minister in the middle of his second four-year term in 2011 as an escalating debt crisis forced him to request an international bailout, which imposed painful austerity on Portugal.

During his premiership, Socrates weathered several investigations, including allegations that he misused his post as environment minister in 2002 to allow the construction of a shopping mall. He denied wrongdoing and faced no formal charges.

Judicial Police in Portimão arrest person for attempted murder,

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

The Judicial Police, through the Department of Criminal Investigation of Portimão, identified and arrested a man for the alleged commission of attempted murder, committed on 2nd June 2014 on public road in Parchal.

On that date the detainee, the husband of the victim, took her for a ride to another place, where the attack took place. This involved showering her with gasoline from a container he was carrying and setting it on fire

However, before the detainee could succeed the victim managed to escape.

The detainee later changed residence and was located in the area of Lourinhã where after an extensive search he was arrested.

The detainee, is a 43-year-old construction worker and will appear in court to determine pre-trial conditions.

PSP Operation “ARMEX II” results in arrest of 46 persons and seizures of weapons and explosives.

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

The PSP is responsible for and has as a strategic priority, the execution of planned police operations specifically targeting certain areas of intervention, particularly in the area of arms control and ammunition, private security and airport security.

In 2014 there have already been nine accidents involving use of explosives/gunpowder, which has resulted in two deaths, six serious injuries and 11 minor injuries as well as damage to property.

In response to this on 13th November between 00.00 and 24.00 hrs the  PSP conducted Operation Thriller “ARMEX II,” involving police personnel at all commands and through the Centers for Firearms and Explosives (NAE’s) involving Intervention and Surveillance Officers (EIFP) and Supervisory Police Officers (EIFP/BFP).

During this operation, 46 arrests and 342 identifications of citizens were made, and 57 weapons, 203 rounds of ammunition, 27 Kg of explosives, 2 kg of hazardous material, 64 kg of gunpowder, 1605 meters of detonator cord, 256 detonators and other pyrotechnic articles were seized.

It is further noted that the Department of Weapons and Explosives of the National Directorate of PSP (DAE (DNPSP), supported by staff from the Department of Criminal Investigation / DNPSP, carried out Operation “BARN”. This was a result of an investigation of suspected arms trafficking and mediation (art. 87 of RJAM) in explosives, powders and other products / explosive substances. This resulted in three searches of premises and executed of two warrants.

As a result of Operation BARN a 69 year old male was arrested and two others identified and one light goods vehicle; four computers; three mobile phones; 64Kg of powder; 25 kg of explosives; six bars of explosive type GOMA ECO2; 1605 feet of detonating cord; 300 meters of fuse wire; 150 pyrotechnic detonators No. 8 and 51 electric detonators were seized.

Russian website capturing images from security video cameras in Portugal properties

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

In the last few days it has emerged that a Russian website “Insecam” is watching more than 73,000 homes and businesses around the world through camera surveillance, including around 230 cameras installed in homes, offices, stores, among other places in Portugal.

The captured images without authorization are then shown on their site and are accessible to all site visitors. According to the media reports, citing managers of Russian portal, global exposure of thousands of surveillance cameras video aims to raise awareness with consumer camera manufacturers that devices without protection can be easily accessed.

At issue is a simple password that few users change when they buy a computer or a home video surveillance system based on the internet, that is, with an identifiable IP.

In this particular case, the Russian portal has disseminated images of cameras with the login “admin” and the password “12345”. These are often standard when equipment is purchased and should be changed by the user at the time of installation. The apparatus of brands Foscam, Panasonic , Linksys, AVTECH and Hikvision are among the most accessible.

Also according to the media, the Judicial Police are aware of this issue, which may constitute a crime of violation of privacy and electronic device, but cannot undertake any investigation, because the portal is owned by a company registered in Russia, headquartered in Moscow, where the servers work.

Comment

I have raised this with the Judicial Police concerning preventative advice.

This is a lack of serious breach of security and privacy for targeted users. I would advise owners of CCTV to contact their company responsible for the video surveillance system installation, to check whether access data to the digital video recorder and router needs to be changed.  Passwords should not be left as they were when the equipment was supplied. If users installed it themselves then re-set the user ID and password asap.

Regarding notebooks with webcams – I WOULD STRONGLY ADVISE a simple measure to avoid it being remotely activated by hackers and that is to stick a “post-it” note over the camera on the notebook when not in use – that way people cannot look at you or your home.

 

England and Wales police failing to record more than 800,000 offences

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

The Guardian newspaper reported on 18th November that “The police are failing to record more than 800,000 offences, including a quarter of all sexual crimes, reported to them by the public each year, according to a damning official inquiry.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary says it is an indefensible failure by the police to properly record the equivalent of 19% of the total official police recorded crime rate, and including a third of all violent crime.

The investigation into the integrity of police recorded crime figures says that the 26% under-recording of rapes and other sexual offences is a matter of “especially serious concern”, with inspectors finding 37 individual cases of rape that were not recorded as crimes.

The HMIC report, published on Tuesday, says that even when crimes are correctly recorded by the police, too many are removed or cancelled as recorded crimes for no good reason, including more than 200 rapes and 250 cases of violence against the person.

It says that these decisions, called “no-criming”, to incorrectly dismiss rape victims have meant that offenders who should have been pursued by the police have not been brought to justice. The inspectors add that in 22% of these no-crime cases the rape victim was never told that a decision had been taken to drop their case.

Tom Winsor, the chief inspector of constabulary, said: “These are wholly unacceptable failings. Some forces have exemplary records in this respect, and others are very bad. It is particularly important that in cases as serious as rape, these shortcomings are put right as a matter of the greatest urgency. In some forces, action is already being taken.”

The HMIC report found that the problem was worst in four forces, Avon and Somerset, Dyfed-Powys, Northumbria and West Yorkshire, which all failed to record more than 30% of the crime reported to them by the public. The best forces were Staffordshire, South Wales, West Midlands and Lincolnshire.

The investigation was ordered by the home secretary, Theresa May, after the police recorded crime figures lost their “gold status” as national statistics after two parliamentary inquiries heard concerns about their integrity from whistleblowers and others.

The failure of the police figures in England and Wales to record as much as 19% of the crime reported to them, however, does not undermine the credibility of the long-term historic fall in the crime rate as measured by the official crime survey of England and Wales. This is based on a survey of 40,000 people’s experience of crime and is unrelated to how the police deal with it.

The home secretary said the HMIC report had confirmed her concerns that there had been utterly unacceptable failings in the way the police record crime.

“It is never acceptable for the police to mis-record crime. Failing to do so not only lets down victims but the wider public who expect to be able to trust the integrity of police recorded crime,” May said.

Winsor said that the police needed to act immediately on the presumption that the victim is to be believed: “If evidence later comes to light which shows that no crime occurred then the record should be corrected: that is how the system is supposed to work.”

The chief inspector said that a national crime recording rate of 81% was inexcusably poor: “This is not about numbers and dry statistics – it is about victims and the protection of the public.”

The investigation was based on reviewing 10,267 reports of crime by the public and 3,240 “no-crime” decisions as well as surveying the views of 17,000 police officers and staff.

Comment

In many policing plans in England and Wales targets are included by how much crime should be reduced over specific periods. Although the setting of targets is not in itself a bad thing, it does become a problem when pressure is exerted achieve targets by manipulating the figures by ways such as this.

Earlier warnings on Golden Visa corruption ignored

Monday, November 17th, 2014

By David Thomas: President Safe Communities Algarve

The arrest of top officials suspected of corruption involving the administration of the Golden Visa Scheme, and the consequential resignation of the Minister of Interior,  has tarnished Portugal’s reputation in terms of the fight against corruption as a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, to which it is a signatory.

The fact that top officials were allegedly involved, shows that the policies that are in place to minimize the opportunities for corruption are not working. Although the Judicial Police should be congratulated in doing a fine job in bring those allegedly involved to justice, this should not have been necessary if a more robust approach to corruption prevention existed.

The Court of Auditors in Portugal takes a leading role in fighting corruption. The Council for Prevention of Corruption (CPC), set up within the Court of Auditors in 2008, is tasked with coordination and analysis of prevention policies. The Council recommended that all central and local public bodies, including state-owned companies, prepare plans for the management of corruption-related risks. To date over 1 000 corruption prevention plans have been submitted to the CPC for assessment. However the impact of these plans is yet to be assessed.

In my work with the Hong Kong Police and INTERPOL I worked closely with anti-corruption agencies and it was very clear that in order to root out corruption a “top down” crime prevention strategy was required that scrutinizes government polices to identify and close loopholes that could be exploited through corrupt practices, as well as ensure that there were adequate checks and balances in place prior to their implementation.

To me it is obvious that the Golden Visa Scheme could be exploited in this way, as it involves visa applications (which have been the target of corrupt practices in many countries in the past); that there is a great deal of money involved; and that most applicants are coming from a country which has a high level of corruption.

Interestingly in March this year Ana Gomes a Portuguese Socialist MEP stated in an interview with the BBC regarding the Golden Visa Scheme, that cash-strapped European countries are so focussed on reviving their property industries that they are not looking at potential risks.

“There might be all sorts of corrupt and even criminal organisations behind those who are benefiting from these schemes…and it might be another very dangerous avenue to import additional corruption and criminality into the EU,” she added.

But the Portuguese Communities Minister, Jose Cesario, told the BBC in response that there is nothing to worry about: “We don’t sell visas or passports. They are very scrutinised. We investigate everything about them. We are very rigorous with them.”

However there is evidence that other countries are taking a fresh look at these schemes to amend loopholes. In October both China’s government and Australian investment experts raised concerns that the visas, which build on an existing plan offering residency in four years for people investing at least A$5 million in Australia, could potentially offer a haven for corrupt officials that Beijing has been trying to crack down.  Australia’s government believes changes to visas offering rich foreign investors a fast track to residency in return for multimillion-dollar capital infusions will better combat potential corruption.

In the rush to obtain a much needed boost to Portugal’s economy, it is important not to forget the need for safeguards in drawing up schemes such as this in order to take account of the potential exploitation of corrupt practices.

Lisbon – Person arrested for international drug trafficking – 46 kgs cocaine seized

Friday, November 14th, 2014

On 10th November 2014 the Judicial Police Officers (North Board), with the close collaboration of the Spanish Civil Guard, identified and arrested a man for alleged  international drug trafficking by air, in yesterday, in the area adjacent to Lisbon airport. The defendant, aged 45 years who is a truck driver, was arrested in possession of two suitcases, inside of which were 40 rectangular boxes containing  approximately 46 kgs of the drug.

The cocaine originated from Caracas. – Venezuela and was intended for the consumer market in the  Iberian Peninsula. In addition to the drugs, mobile phones, cash, documents and various other items were seized.

In the course of the investigations three other men and a woman, all Spanish nationals, were detained in Spain, by the ECO-GALICIA Spanish Civil Guard. The five detainees, aged between 40 and 60 years of age will appear before courts in the respective countries, for determination of remand conditions.