The size and reach of the market in illicit products and services reflect patterns of globalization, economic growth, and armed conflict as well as government and civil society responses to the impacts of these markets. These illicit markets have grown rapidly with the opening up of trade and development of China, India, and ASEAN boosted by infrastructure development and increased wealth. Traditional crime groups have revitalized and new entrepreneurial crime groups have emerged to capitalize on the illicit market opportunities contributing to a surge in the distribution and the use of narcotics as well as other contraband in Asia and worldwide. These developments have triggered extreme responses from governments. Countermeasures at the regional and national level have focused law enforcement on drug supply and distribution while alternative ‘harm reduction’ approaches, including treatment and de-criminalization, have not developed apace. Policies such as “drug-free zones” and the “war on drugs” have unintended consequences, undermining the rule of law and enhancing the profits of criminal organizations. Chronic court delays and severe prison overcrowding are also costly by-products. This chapter outlines the illicit markets-criminal organizations nexus in Asia and considers how responses to transnational crime can amplify or diminish its hidden power.
|Title of host publication||Organized Crime and Corruption Across Borders: Exploring the Belt and Road Initiative|
|Editors||T Wing Lo, D Siegel & S I Kwok|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|