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World Affairs Editor, John Simpson reports
Part 3: Organised crime in Hungary
 real 28k

Gwen MacClure
Head of Organised Crime, Interpol
 real 28k

Thursday, 16 December, 1999, 00:03 GMT
The third horseman: Organised crime

JS + organised crime graphic Organised crime threatens global stability

In part three of the continuing series of reports for the BBC's Newsnight, the award winning world affairs editor, John Simpson, assesses the future of crime, one of the four evils which threaten global stability.

Berlin wall The fall of Berlin's wall opened the door to crime
A decade ago, in the jubilation surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall and the revolutions in Czechoslovakia and Romania, it never occurred to anyone that one of the great evils of the century was being born.

The third of our horsemen is the new brand of organised transnational crime, observable from Johannesburg to Prague, and from Lagos to Macau.

Every advanced economy is affected by it. When the inevitable link-up with the drugs trade occurs, the combination of immense sums of money and the threat of unlimited violence is enough to subvert entire countries.

Organised crime syndicates spreading

The process is already under way in Russia, Ukraine and Colombia. Other regions - Mexico, for instance, and especially the European Union - are in considerable danger.

Organised crime has established a firm footing in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic - all of which will be members of the EU within a few years.

Russian trains carrying fuel Russian fuel: Scam turned mobsters into millionaires
Their criminals will use the unrivalled opportunities of free trade and free movement to infect countries which are still relatively free from corruption and organised crime: Germany and Britain, for instance.

Our Newsnight team visited Hungary to investigate how the fraudulent sale of millions of gallons of abandoned Russian fuel-oil financed the extraordinary growth of the crime syndicates there.

HAVE YOUR SAY A policeman, who had the courage to denounce his superiors for their involvement, was charged with defamation shortly after telling us in an interview how corrupt the Hungarian police had become.

2 policemen Some Hungarian police are alledged to be corrupt

An uphill struggle

At present the battle is being fought by a few lonely figures - a member of parliament, a lawyer and others.

The Hungarian Government has so far done little to clear up the frightening mess.

The head of the police unit which is responsible for dealing with internal corruption insisted to us that the problem was under control.

police school FBI school for police in Budapest
The FBI, with some British help, is training policemen and women from the former Soviet bloc how to deal with organised crime.

The effect is inevitably limited. The deputy head of Interpol, herself an FBI officer, told us that ultimately the only way to get rid of organised crime is to mobilise the population against it.

In countries such as Hungary and Poland - just emerging from a half-century of dictatorship - that is unlikely to happen for a long time. Crime will continue to rot the fabric of society.

Do you think that organised crime poses a threat to global stability? What can be done to combat it?

BBC News Online will put your questions and comments to John Simpson at the end of the week.

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See also:
13 Dec 99 |  Sci/Tech
The first horseman: Environmental disaster
14 Dec 99 |  World
The second horseman: War
06 Dec 99 |  Panorama
The Billion Dollar Don
10 Dec 99 |  Americas
Canadian swoop on 'Russian Mafia' suspects
28 Nov 99 |  Europe
Croatians arrest mafia bosses
09 Nov 99 |  Americas
Citibank facing money laundering blast
06 Oct 99 |  Americas
Three charged in NY bank scandal

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