An anniversary – on 25 September 1513, Vasco Núñez de Balboa glimpses the Pacific Ocean, which he named it the South Sea.
It is reported that Panama has reinforced security in different communities in the border areas due to the volume of migrants who are passing through the Darien Province. To date, more than 134,000 migrants have entered Panama and this exceeds the figure for 2021, which was 133,726. In July, August and so far in September, there has been a marked increase in migrants, most of whom are people of Venezuela, África and Haití. Separately, the problems for the migrants crossing the Darien include the difficult conditions and dangers of the jungle, as well as the actions of armed groups and criminal organisations on both sides of the border.
In other news, the Ministry of Public Security reported that to date it has seized 91,650 packages of drugs and, of these, 23 tons was seized in ports in the Pacific and the Caribbean.
25 SEPTEMBER 2022
JAPAN PUBLISHES GUIDELINES ON CORPORATE HUMAN RIGHTS DUE DILIGENCE
On 20 September, Herbert Smith Freehills reported that on 13 September the Japanese government published its Guidelines on Respecting Human Rights in Responsible Supply Chains. The Guidelines set out how businesses active in Japan should address the human rights risks arising in their operations and supply chains. It is said that the Guidelines are broad in scope and provide detailed guidance on the elements of an effective human rights due diligence process. Although the Guidelines are not legally binding, they clearly set out the Government’s expectations in relation to business and human rights.
ACCOUNT FREEZING AND FORFEITURE ORDERS: IS THE FCA WAKING UP TO ITS INVESTIGATIVE POWERS?
On 21 September, the National Law review posed this question about the UK Financial Conduct Authority, which secured its first Account Forfeiture Order (AFO) under POCA in April. Until now, these powers, granted by the Criminal Finances Act 2017, have mainly been used by the NCA, regional police forces, and HMRC. It explains that law enforcement agencies can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for an Account Freezing Orders (AFrO), without notice, to freeze funds in bank and building society accounts where the balance exceeds £1,000. Then, at any point while the AFrO is in force, the authorities may apply for an AFO for the relevant sums to be forfeited to law enforcement. To grant an AFO, the court must be satisfied that the money is obtained through unlawful conduct (“recoverable property”) or it is intended for use in unlawful conduct. It is said that AFrO and AFO are increasingly being used by law enforcement agencies as an asset recovery tool, now including the FCA.
BIG DATA MONITORING TOOL AIMS TO CATCH UP TO INDONESIA’S BOOMING ONLINE BIRD TRADE
On 16 September, Mongabay reported that a web-trawling tool developed by researchers in Indonesia has identified more than a quarter of a million songbirds in online listings from a single e-commerce site between April 2020 and September 2021. Researchers have proposed the adoption of a tool by Indonesian authorities to monitor the online bird trade, given the absence of any other platform to crack down on trafficking.
INDONESIANS WAIT FOR UK FARM JOBS AFTER PAYING DEPOSITS OF UP TO £2,500
On 25 September, the Observer reported that Indonesians dreaming of working in Britain are understood to have paid deposits of up to £2,500 to a Jakarta agency to “guarantee” jobs on UK farms that have not yet materialised. Such a deposit is considered a work-finding fee, which is illegal in the UK and Indonesia.
A PONZI SCHEME BY ANY OTHER NAME: THE BURSTING OF CHINA’S PROPERTY BUBBLE
On 25 September, The Observer carried an article which starts with the company, China Evergrande Group, all too well known as the poster child of the country’s economic woes. It then points out that nearly a third of all property loans are now classed as bad debts – 29.1%, up from 24.3% at the end of last year. The market is experiencing a total collapse in confidence, analysts say, and only government intervention can save the day.
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