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organised crime

So, your EncroChat phone is dead. It's the the end of the world, though. While the UK's National Crime Agency and other law enforcement bodies around the world were able to attack the EncroChat system, disable its web presence and take control of its servers, and to make an extraordinary number of arrests and spectacular seizures of portable assets, the tech that the criminals relied on wasn't particularly clever and while it may have been proprietary, it was not unique. In the UK, the same mobile phone number is used by some selling both EncroChat and a rival system. Private bankers, lawyers and others have a problem that has, so far, not been talked about in the excitement of the initial arrests.

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The authorities in Malaysia say that the corona-virus triggered lockdown in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, has led to a 67% reduction in crime. That, of course, might not be all that it seems - crime and reported crime not being the same and if people can't get to a police station, they can't make reports. Also, Malaysians have an odd habit: they make "police reports" at the drop of a hat, for all kinds of reasons, often political or for matters that in other countries would be regarded as civil matters not as police matters. When they do, they often issue a press release tp say they are going to do it and - incredibly, Malaysian media turns up to photograph them entering, or leaving, the police station. If people can't go out, they can't do that, either, so that may (we put it no higher than that) distorts the crime figures anyway.

But that aside, organised crime gangs, which are a business, are finding that their commercial activities are curtailed along with their movements. They...

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Every so often, Bitcoin hits the news because a criminal gang is using it for some nefarious purpose. We examined BitCoin in a special issue (see here) in 2013. It was not our first look at virtual currencies: that was way back in the mid 1990s, before we even launched World Money Laundering Report, and we've kept a watching brief ever since. Here's the current scary stuff.

The USA seems to have some serious problems with naming crimes. We're not talking about the nonsensical "identity theft" or, even, "conspiracy" with no hint of what the defendant conspired to do. No, these are just ridiculous names for simple offences.

A leader in The Economist echoes the official position of, in particular, the USA in saying that "the Iraqi Army is on the brink of defeating Islamic State." In what sounds like a dangerous reprise of the claim that the war in Iraq was won, the assumption that clearing Mosul of this criminal gang will rid the world of its dangers is, and was always going to be, wrong, says Nigel Morris-Cotterill.

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