2009 Country Reports on Terrorism - Laos
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||5 August 2010|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism - Laos, 5 August 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c63b63928.html [accessed 23 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Since 2002, the Government of Laos has consistently denounced international terrorism and expressed a willingness to cooperate with the international community on counterterrorism. While domestic opposition elements have in the past employed terrorist tactics, such as ambushing civilian buses in 2003 and bombing civilian targets in 2004, Lao officials at many levels saw international terrorism as an issue of only marginal relevance to Laos. They believed that Laos, as a small and neutral country, would not be targeted or exploited by international terrorists.
Laos does not have a separate counterterrorism law, but the Lao judicial system allows for the prosecution of acts of terrorism as crimes under the Lao criminal code, and Lao officials have amended the criminal code to strengthen counterterrorism sanctions. Laos' border security was weak; border officials could not effectively control access to the country at any of the country's border checkpoints. Crossing the border along the Mekong River into Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia could be accomplished easily and without detection. Border delineation remained poor in more remote sections of the country, especially along its land borders with Vietnam and China. It was likely that unmonitored border crossings by locals occurred on a daily basis. Since September 11, 2001, Lao authorities have strengthened airport security, and airport security forces have participated in U.S.-supported security seminars to raise their standards, but security procedures at land immigration points remained lax compared with those of most other countries in the region. In addition, official Lao identity documents, including passports and ID cards, were easy to obtain.
Lao authorities have issued orders limiting the amount of cash that could be withdrawn from local banks or carried into or out of the country and strengthened reporting requirements of state and privately owned commercial banks. Banking regulation remained extremely weak, however, and the banking system was vulnerable to money laundering and other illegal transactions.