CATF Reports Aug. 18, 2016, 9:01am

According to a Risk Study presented at a counter-terrorism summit of security ministers from over 20 countries meeting in Bali in early August, terrorist groups are funneling more and more funds into Southeast Asia to sponsor terrorism. This regional assessment, prepared by Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines, cautioned of the increasing use of charities and non-profit groups to support terrorism. According to the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), approximately $763,000 in foreign funds was used to finance terrorism in Indonesia in 2014 and 2015. Based on the assessment, "The cross-border movement of cash is the highest-risk method of moving terrorism funds across the region." Weaker land borders and close international water boundaries are exploited by extremist and terrorist networks to seamlessly move funds across borders, thereby guaranteeing that terrorists have resources to bribe officials, gain recruits, and purchase raw materials for terrorist activities.

Countries in Southeast Asia have been targeted by extremists in recent months – from the multiple explosions in Jakarta in January 2016 to the attack on Philippine security forces in Basilan in April 2016. These attacks are supplemented by concerns of the expansion of militant groups in Southeast Asia, more specifically in Indonesia and the Philippines. ISIS has even put out publications to recruit Southeast Asian fighters. One common theme of the summit was the importance of strong intelligence cooperation and solidifying domestic and regional frameworks to target terror financing, deemed crucial to understand and counter the growth of terrorist threats in Southeast Asia.

From the Time Magazine:

““They had many ways of sending the funds, for example, through our migrant workers in Malaysia, Singapore and Middle Eastern countries,” said PPATK deputy chairman Agus Santoso on Tuesday, according to the Post. “The money can be directed to Indonesia through various countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and many more.” […]

“Given only small sums are required to stage a deadly attack, even modest amounts of funding from foreign terrorist groups pose a significant risk to the region’s security,” the assessment said”.

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