The omnipresence of electronic devices in our daily lives makes digital evidence an essential part of criminal investigation and prosecutions for all types of crimes. The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), in collaboration with The University of Hong Kong (HKU), initiated a training programme for police officers and prosecutors from nine Asian countries to equip them with the necessary skills to make the most effective use of digital evidence in their work. Project LEADER, supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided training to law enforcement professionals from the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Kingdom of Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Maldives, Mongolia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In addition to training on the technical aspects of digital forensics, the participants also learned about the admissibility of digital evidence and the legal arrangements for requesting and obtaining digital evidence from abroad in cross-border cases.

Professor Simon N M Young and his team (Jing Lin Stephanie Chan, Xingshi (Marieta) Chen, and Ziying Liang) of HKU’s Faculty of Law, together with INTERPOL, co-organised a training session from 15 to 19 May 2023 for 17 police officers and prosecutors (from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam) in Hanoi, Vietnam. A second training session from 29 May to 2 June 2023 for 20 police officers and prosecutors (from Brunei, Bhutan, Maldives, and Mongolia) was hosted at HKU.

Participants were required to solve a simulated international human trafficking case, from investigation to trial. Throughout the five-day intensive training, participants put into practice what they had learned on leveraging INTERPOL capabilities in a transnational case, making cross-border mutual legal assistance and extradition requests, and presenting digital evidence in a mock trial in the roles of prosecutor, witness, and defence counsel.

INTERPOL Project LEADER colleagues, led by project manager, Mr Rastislav Sasik, oversaw the tabletop exercise on INTERPOL capabilities, while Professor Young and his team led the international cooperation and mock trial portions of the training with the assistance of two subject matter experts.  Mr Glenn Martindale, INTERPOL Director of Capacity Building and Training Directorate, delivered the opening speech for INTERPOL in Hong Kong.

We especially thank HKU colleagues, Phoenix, Dominic, Alan and Jane, for helping to ensure the smooth delivery of the training in Hong Kong.

Participants from nine Asian countries joining the INTERPOL training pprogramme.