Archive for 2015

President Safe Communities Portugal awarded BEM in Queen’s New Years Honours List 2016

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

In the New Year Honours List for 2016 Her Majesty the Queen has awarded David Thomas, as President, Safe Communities Portugal, the British Empire Medal (BEM), in recognition of his “services to crime prevention and awareness within the British and international community in Portugal”. View notice on Gazette here.

Safe Communities Portugal was registered as an Association in December 2014, having been developed from Safe Communities Algarve which was formed two years earlier. It works with the international communities in Portugal helping to maintain Portugal as a safe place to live and visit.

On hearing the news David Thomas commented, that “It is a great honour to receive this award. This, however, would not have been possible without the tremendous support from the community, as well as all the officials in the police, civil protection, other government departments, tourist boards, the Embassies and Consulates, the media and many other entities with whom Safe Communities Portugal has the pleasure to work”.

I also wish to express my thanks for all the help from those past and present members of the Safe Communities Portugal Board, advisors and other volunteers, who have given up their time to help maintain and develop the association and thereby help the community.

He added “It is always challenging to initiate and implement something that is new, is needed, and which helps the community, as well as gaining support from government. To be able to achieve this working with, and meeting great people makes this all the more rewarding. The award therefore reflects these collective efforts”.

Two persons arrested for series of robberies

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

The Judicial Police, through the Directorate of Lisboa and Vale do Tejo, have identified, located and arrested a man aged 35 years who with another person carried out robberies with the use of a weapon.

Another man aged 25 years was also arrested by the Judicial Police suspected of murder, corpse desecration and possession of a prohibited weapon.

The investigation found that the detainees were responsible for about eighteen armed robberies at pharmacies, shops and a restaurants which took place in Lisbon and Cascais, between August and December this year, as well as the theft of two cars car used to carry out these attacks.

The culprits worked undercover, using wigs and other props, and, in many cases, managed to steal several thousand euros and gold objects, putting in fear those who were attacked.

The detainees will be brought before the first court hearing for implementation of appropriate procedural measures pending trial.

Two persons arrested for planning New Years Eve terrorist attacks in Brussels

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Two people have been arrested by Belgian authorities on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks in “emblematic places” in Brussels on New Year’s Eve, Belgium’s federal prosecutor said.

The police anti-terrorist raid took place in Brussels, eastern Liège province and in Flemish-speaking Brabant, central Belgium, on Sunday and Monday.

The announcement did not say whether the suspects were male or female.

During the searches, the office says military-type training uniforms, propaganda materials from the militant group and computer material were seized and are being examined. However, no weapons or explosives were found.

PSP Operational results and reinforcement of security over the next hours.

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

The Public Security Police commenced on 14th December a National Operation: “Safety Holidays”. This has been formulated including initiatives to ensure greater police visibility, an increase of greater operational momentum and enhanced surveillance to detect criminal activity, which is more likely to happen this time of year. Alongside these actions, the PSP will exponentially increase the number of resources regarding traffic operations from 23rd and 27th December.

From the 14th to the 21st of December, compared to the same period of 2014, the PSP recorded, in its area of responsibility, a decrease of 29% and 40% with respect to violent/serious crime and overall crime respectively. Contributing to this decrease noticeably were thefts from residences, which decreased about 50%, and thefts in supermarkets and from vehicles which decreased both over 45%. Thefts by pickpockets, however increased by over 40%

Considering the operating results previously published, the PSP will continue to strengthen visibly, to protect the safety of all citizens, focusing in particular at places of higher turnout as a result of the planned schedule of holidays, celebrations and large clusters of people in city ​​centres. This increase also considers the current context of European and global security which increased supplementary safety measures, particularly in terms of PSP visibility in places of most critical infrastructure.

As mentioned above the PSP will increase the visibility and operational commitment of its traffic policing at a national level, taking in to account the large flows of traffic that will occur outside the major cities in the coming hours, especially in the early hours of December 23 and returning on December 27. This strengthening aims to reduce drastically the risk of the type of driving which has resulted in five deaths since the beginning of the Operation, four 4 more than in the same period of 2014.

The PSP thanks and calls on all citizens to continue to follow safety advice in order to prevent crime in particular the dangers of drinking alcohol and driving, excessive speed and lack of devices safety.

We reinforce measures in the coming hours that if you are absent from your home during this period of Christmas, we provide free monitoring of your homes.

We wish happy holidays

PSP

 

EU must respond to challenges on Border Security and integration of refugees

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

The action outside Europe’s borders, ‘in order to promote peace and prosperity, fundamental conditions for the reduction of migratory movements, the most effective control of the external border in order to combat all kinds of crime, including trafficking in human beings and illegal immigration networks, and the efficient functioning of the host mechanism of refugees, and the urgency of putting this into full operation, “were the aspects highlighted by Prime Minister António Costa, as the most important outcomes of the European Council which met in Brussels on 17 and December 18.

The Prime Minister stated that ‘the Council was marked by the EU’s responsiveness to migratory pressures and its ability to live up to ensure protection to all those who seek refuge in the Union, from theaters of war or where there are threats to their security, and seek to find in Europe a new chance to start your life. ”

“In this sense it is important that the EU can help, want to stabilize conflict zones’ or with developmental disabilities, said António Costa, adding that at the same time, it is necessary for the EU to” reinforce its monitoring capacity at its external borders ‘, which is’ to Portugal, a matter of crucial importance because of the sheer size of our maritime external border “.

Therefore, Portugal saw “welcome the European Commission to resume an old proposal, which Portugal was also increasing, creating a system of coastal guards, a new mechanism – not a new institution – which from the coordination capacity Frontex [European Agency for the coordination of control of external borders] can and should have, articulates the Marine or other instruments of member states to defend their territorial waters “by placing them” the common border protection service, “said the Prime Minister. “There are good conduction to work this proposal and to develop,” he added.

António Costa also said that we must “ensure that the solidarity in border protection is accompanied by solidarity in the distribution of effort and diversification of integration opportunities of those seeking protection in the EU in European societies”. He added that “it is essential that migrants from reception points have effective capacity to make proper security screening and to define profiles, skills and professional likes to facilitate future integration [of refugees] in the host countries.”

The Prime Minister said that reaffirmed “the availability of Portugal to strengthen with technical means of SEF operation of the entry points, which are a major bottleneck in the functioning of refugee redistribution policy, as shown by what has happened with us: already long ago that Portugal expressed its willingness to host more than 4,000 refugees and yesterday received the first 24 », a slowness that” very penalizes refugees and their integration into host societies ‘where’ important to accelerate this process. “

More than 500 arrested in INTERPOL operation targeting phone and email scams

Friday, December 18th, 2015

LYON, France – More than 500 people have been arrested and 15 call centres shut down in an INTERPOL-coordinated operation targeting multi-million dollar phone and email scams across the Asia Pacific region.

Involving 23 countries, Operation First Light 2015 resulted in a series of raids across the region with the largest in Indonesia where police arrested 245 Chinese and Taiwanese individuals, and in Cambodia where 168 Chinese nationals were taken into custody.

Korean, Nigerian, Filipino, Russian and Taiwanese nationals were also among those arrested in China, Hong Kong (China), Korea, Thailand and Vietnam during the two-month long operation during which more than 30 suspicious call centres were identified.

‘Social engineering fraud’ is a broad term that refers to scams through a range of means – including phone calls and social media – to manipulate or trick people into giving out confidential or personal information which can then be used for financial gain by the criminals involved.

In one scam discovered during Operation First Light 2015, fraudsters claiming to be couriers would contact a victim saying a parcel in their name had been linked to criminal activity.

The call would then be transferred to other scammers pretending to be police officers who directed the victims to a fake website where bogus arrest warrants featuring their name had been posted. In order to prove their innocence, the victims were told to provide personal details and send money to designated bank accounts and in some cases, scammers posing as police officers took the cash directly.

“Operation First Light 2015 has been extremely successful in not only in identifying and dismantling the syndicates behind these social engineering frauds, but also in building effective working relationships with our foreign law enforcement colleagues who share a commitment to take action against these crimes,” said Duan Daqi, Deputy Director General of International Cooperation Department at China’s Ministry of Public Security and Delegate for Asia on INTERPOL’s Executive Committee.

“China looks forward to its continued cooperation with INTERPOL and the global law enforcement community in combating all forms of transnational crime,” added Mr Duan.

During the operation, investigation teams from China, South Korea and Hong Kong (China) were deployed to countries where the call centres were based to assist in the identification and repatriation of offenders following their arrest.

Coordinated by INTERPOL’s Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes unit in conjunction with the Liaison Office in Bangkok, the operation took place between 29 August and 31 October.

Police Major General Sokharasmey Lim, Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Phnom Penh said: “The successful outcome with the arrest of nearly 100 suspects for telecom fraud at a call centre in Cambodia shows the common efforts by Cambodian and Chinese police with coordination from INTERPOL, especially Lobang and the Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes unit.”

After receiving a complaint from a victim the participating countries identified the IP addresses used by the suspects, usually in a different country. This information was then shared via INTERPOL to the national authorities involved which then physically located the IP address before conducting a raid on the premises.

“The very nature of these crimes requires an international response which is why INTERPOL is ideally and uniquely placed to assist member countries provide an effective response,” said James Anderson, head of INTERPOL’s Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes unit.

“The success of Operation First Light 2015 is due to the high level of commitment and resources provided by the involved countries, and has dealt a significant blow to those syndicates preying on innocent victims.”

INTERPOL’s Operation First Light 2014 which involved six countries resulted in the arrest in Thailand of more than 20 individuals and the identification of several syndicate heads who had been generating tens of millions of dollars in illicit profits. Chinese police indicated a reduction of 40 per cent in telecom fraud as a result of the operation.

 

GNR Operation Safe Trade

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

From 12th to 24th December, the GNR will be conducting Operation “Safe Trade” throughout the country, in order to ensure safety for traders and customers.

The operation will comprise various awareness and crime prevention activities aimed at traders to minimize the risk of crime leading up to the festive season.

This will also include increased GNR patrols near the trade zones, in order to increase the sense of security among tenants and customers. The various awareness raising activities to be held across the country, we highlight the actions that will be held on December 12, between 10:00 and 12:00 hours at the following locations: Porto – Vila do Conde The Style Outlets; Setúbal – Freeport Outlet Alcochete and Faro – Algarve Shopping.

The GNR advises traders and businesses of the following:

  • Have well-lit establishment;
  • Before closing the establishment, make sure doors and windows are properly closed;
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash inside the establishment;
  • Have a proper routine for carrying out bank deposits;
  • Always have the telephone number of the GNR in your area of business;
  • Open the establishment at the same time as that of neighbours traders;
  • Keep the telephone number of the neighbouring stores;
  • In case of robbery keep calm, do not react, but memorize the facial features of the assailant;
  • After a break-in do not touch anything and contact the GNR immediately

Safe Communities Portugal signs national protocols with SEF and the ANPC

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

 

In a major step forward in the development of Safe Communities Portugal (SCP), national protocols have been signed between the association and the Autoridade Nacional de Protectҫao Civil (ANPC) (National Authority for Civil Protection) and Serviҫo de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF).

Both events took place on 10th December 2015 in separate signing ceremonies held at the organisation’s respective headquarters in Lisbon. The SEF protocol was signed by the National Director António Pereira and the ANPC protocol by the President, Major General Francisco Grave Pereira.

The protocols reflect the increasing interaction between SCP and the ANPC and SEF developed initially in the Algarve over the last two to three years. In the case of the ANPC much of this synergy has involved SCP become increasingly involved in creating greater awareness in the foreign community concerning wildfire prevention. This been achieved though communication using, the Association’s websites, social media and at displays and seminars.

In terms of SEF, regular liaison has taken place to help the organization promote its work through the same means as for the ANPC. With the growing threat of terrorism in Europe and the increasing problems of migration it makes sense to form closer links with the organization responsible for border control.

Both protocols cover, the development of joint initiatives to further closer engagement with the foreign community, clarifying issues of interest to that community, the holding of joint events and promoting awareness of government policies, procedures and other news.

In January this year SCP signed a national

Person arrested in UK for arranging fraudulent acquisition of Portuguese nationality

Friday, December 11th, 2015

On 2nd December 2, an Indian national was arrested in Leicester, United Kingdom, suspected of document forgery crimes and aiding illegal immigration, wanted in connection with an European arrest warrant issued by the Portuguese authorities.

The suspect was arrested following eight house searches in that city, in response to a letter issued in an investigation conducted by SEF under the guidance of DIAP Lisbon.

This investigation dismantled a criminal organization that was dedicated to the fraudulent acquisition of Portuguese nationality for Indian nationals purporting be born in the former Portuguese territories in India. This enabled them to acquire travel documents and therefore travel within Europe and the USA.

The investigation, called “Magic Book”, was initiated following the detection of Portuguese passport holders who were trying to enter the UK, US and Canada.

At issue is the acquisition of Portuguese nationality by citizens who appeared to have been born in India before 1961 in Goa, Daman and Diu, making use of Indian documentation including birth details, which do not correspond to the real official records.

After several months of investigation and collection of evidence in Portugal, searches and arrests were carried out in the Lisbon area, on 2 June 2015, following which three suspects are in custody and seven other defendants were recorded.

This first operation identified that some 3000 people, who had acquired Portuguese nationality in this way. The “clients” of the network paid 30 thousand euros for the documents, provided by the fraudsters.

Fraud in acquisition of Portuguese citizenship:

  1. The procedure for citizenship acquisition starts with false documents (supposedly) certified by Indian Authorities through «Hague Apostille», a formality used for the international certification of documents.
  2. Certified documents (birth certificates or passports) are delivered in the Central Registry Office [Conservatória dos Registos Centrais] of Lisbon, together with the application for acquisition of Portuguese citizenship.
  3. Once the citizen acquires Portuguese citizenship, identity cards [cartão de cidadão] and passports are requested at the Portuguese diplomatic representations or in national territory.
  4. The identity cards enable these new Portuguese citizens to travel to other countries, such as the United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada, where they take up residence.
  5. Given that these citizens do not take up residence in Portugal nor have any family or social tie with the Country, this “phenomenon” does not have visibility in national territory, and for that reason it stays off the radar of national authorities.
  6. Portuguese citizenship has also been requested posthumously, i.e. the children of alleged citizens born before 1961 in the former Portuguese territories in India request Portuguese citizenship for their deceased parents, based in documents with no credibility and from which all the descendants also become Portuguese. There are also some doubts regarding the feasibility of documents submitted by those alleged “children of deceased citizens”.
  7. There were also several situations of children of the same mother with only two and three months age difference who have obtained Portuguese citizenship.
  8. Once the citizenship is acquired, the new “Portuguese citizens” marry with third-country nationals, resulting in the legalisation of the spouse in national territory and acquisition of Portuguese citizenship after three years. The members of the criminal organisation who ensured the acquisition of Portuguese nationality by fraudulent means acted in exchange for large amounts of money. Those residing in Portugal and those who maintained convenience residence also receive social benefits, such as income support allowance, or family benefits.

Most of the beneficiaries who acquired Portuguese Nationality now reside in the UK, particularly in the cities of London and Leicester, having obtained Portuguese travel   documents. This has enabled them to travel throughout Europe and traveling to North America.

The European arrest warrant targeted the suspect considered of utmost importance in this organization, who received thousands of euros enabling people to obtain authentic Portuguese travel documents based on fraudulent documents.

In the eight target house searches, were conducted by British authorities, accompanied by SEF personnel.

More than 540 000 migrants have arrived on the Greek islands in the first ten months of the year

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

More than 540 000 migrants have arrived on the Greek islands in the first ten months of the year, which was 13 times more than in the same period of 2014. Syrians continued to account for the largest number of arrivals, although in recent weeks the share of Afghan nationals has risen significantly.

Despite the worsening weather conditions in October, more than 150 000 people made the journey from Turkey to Greece last month compared to fewer than 8 500 in October 2014.

As a direct knock-on effect, in the January-October period some 500 000 detections of illegal border crossings were recorded on the EU’s external borders in the Western Balkans, mainly on Hungary’s and Croatia’s borders with Serbia. Most of the migrants detected in the region had earlier arrived on one of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea and then left the EU to travel through the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. After Hungary constructed a fence on its border with Serbia and tightened border controls in September, the migrants have begun crossing Croatia’s border with Serbia in record numbers.

As part of its effort to assist Greece and Western Balkan states in dealing with the unprecedented migratory pressure, Frontex has strengthened Operation Poseidon Sea and deployed 114 officers on Lesbos and other Greek islands to support the local authorities in identifying, registering and fingerprinting of new arrivals. This includes 37 officers deployed at the Lesbos hotspot, where Frontex is completing a pilot project of an accelerated registration process to shorten the waiting time for the migrants and pave the way for relocation of asylum seekers.

Frontex has also offered to increase its presence on the Greek land borders with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania, as well as Croatia’s border with Serbia.

“We are in close contact with Greece and Croatia to fine tune the kind of support these EU Member States expect from Frontex,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

In contrast to the record numbers in Greece and the Western Balkans, the Central Mediterranean route saw the number of people crossing from Libya to Italy drop by half in October to 8 500 compared to the same month of 2014. This was in large part due to a shortage of boats available to smugglers, bringing the figure for the first ten months down to 140 000 versus nearly 155 000 in the same period of 2014.

Overall, the number of detections of illegal border crossings at the EU’s external borders between January and October stood at an unprecedented 1.2 million, four times the 282 000 recorded in all of last year.