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President Ma meets Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime Executive Director and Co-Chairman Barry A. K. Rider

President Ma Ying-jeou met on the afternoon of June 25 with Professor Barry A. K. Rider, the executive director and co-chairman of the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime. Besides thanking Professor Rider for his longstanding efforts in helping ROC law enforcement agencies to expand their contacts with the international community, the president also hopes for continued strengthening of cooperation and interaction between the ROC and the United Kingdom.

In remarks, the president said that Professor Rider has engaged in cooperation with the ROC's Ministry of Justice, Investigation Bureau, prosecutors, and the private financial industry since 1970, and that he has visited Taiwan over 30 times. Professor Rider has a strong academic background and has served as a consultant for INTERPOL , the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank , and he is well-known throughout both the British judicial sector and international community.

President Ma remarked that Professor Rider founded the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime in 1983, since which the organization has held 33 annual meetings . The topic of economic crime has consistently been important to countries throughout the world and the content of the discussions at the symposia meet the practical needs of participants. Consequently, over 1,000 law enforcement officials, scholars, and experts from around the world attend each year's symposium. In 1975, Professor Rider was also elected to the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies . Members of this organization include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair , the entire membership of the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords , senior legal affairs officials, and all the justices on the US Supreme Court, which the president said highlights the outstanding contributions of Professor Rider in related research.

As for Professor Rider's role in assisting the ROC's law enforcement agencies in participating in international organizations, the president specifically noted that he has helped the ROC take part in over 20 conferences held by the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, with the two sides consistently maintaining close contact. In addition, while serving as a senior official of the Commonwealth Secretariat , Professor Rider also assisted the ROC's National Police Agency in participating in the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police. Furthermore, Professor Rider has long served as an unofficial advisor to the ROC's representative office in the UK, providing considerable assistance to Taiwan.

The president then discussed the achievements of the ROC government in crime prevention in recent years. He pointed out that in 2007, the year before he took office, the number of offenses known to the police nationwide was over 490,000 and the clearance rate was 75%. After years of efforts, the number of such offenses last year had dropped to about 300,000, and 86% of them were cleared. The number of offenses known to the police fell by 37.6% since 2007, while the share of cases solved rose by 11.5%. Of these, the number of violent crimes fell by 76%, while larceny was reduced by 69%. In both of these categories, the occurrence of cases dropped sharply, while the clearance rate increased significantly, the president said.

The president further shared the success of the government in fighting scams and improving public safety. The losses caused by scams, which peaked in 2006 at NT$18.6 billion, dropped to NT$3.3 billion last year, equal to a fall of 82%. Meanwhile, a survey among members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei shows that over the past five years the ROC has risen into the Top 2 in the category of "my family feels safe ." This is testament to the international community's recognition of the level of safety in the ROC, the president said.

The president feels that the signing of the Cross-Strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement in 2009 is one factor in the improvement in public safety here, since the vast majority of criminal suspects fleeing to the mainland have been repatriated. Even some suspects who have fled to Southeast Asian nations have been arrested and sent back to Taiwan as the result of cross-strait cooperation. The president pointed to the instance in which bombs had been planted on a high-speed train here in April 2013, commenting that Taiwan's police confirmed the identity of the suspects within one day of the crime, and within five days they had been arrested in mainland China and returned to Taiwan. "This is something that would have been impossible in the past," the president noted. As of March of this year, cross-strait cooperation had resulted in cracking 99 major criminal cases and the capture of over 6,000 criminals, he said.

President Ma went on to mention that in order to extradite Zain Taj Dean , a British national who was involved in a hit-and-run case here while driving drunk and then fled Taiwan, the ROC and the UK in 2013 signed the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Extradition of Zain Taj Dean . This marked a new precedent in judicial cooperation between the two countries, and the president stated that efforts will continue to extradite Dean back to the ROC to serve his jail sentence.

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