The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has formalised its continuing cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) with the signing of two new arrangements on targeting transnational crime impacting Australia and China.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin also used a visit to Beijing to formally return AU$215,000 that was forfeited in Australia as proceeds of crime, after it was unlawfully removed from China.

A Statement of Intent on combatting transnational crime and enhancing police cooperation was signed by Commissioner Colvin and MPS Vice Minister Meng Qingfeng, as was a Joint Agency Arrangement on economic crime cooperation.

Commissioner Colvin said the visit with Vice Minister Meng also involved in-depth discussions on matters of mutual interest.

“The AFP has a long history of law enforcement cooperation in China and today’s events are part of our long-term commitment to working with the Ministry of Public Security to tackle issues of mutual concern and cooperate in innovative ways,” he said.

“I am also pleased to hand over $215,000 that was forfeited in Australia under proceeds of crime legislation, demonstrating that Australia will remain a hostile environment for criminals seeking to hide their illegally-obtained assets.”

MPS Vice Minister Meng Qingfeng said he hopes that both countries can take this opportunity to address mutual concerns, have closer communication and cooperation, and further develop this cooperation to achieve successful outcomes.

The Statement of Intent on combating transnational crime and enhancing police cooperation provides a framework to formalise future law enforcement cooperation on crime types – including terrorism – that have the potential to affect the security of both Australia and China.

The Joint Agency Arrangement formalises a joint working group between MPS, AFP and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, aimed at further cooperating on law enforcement, particularly on transnational economic crime. The working group is the first of its kind with China and aims to strengthen cooperation on combatting economic crime and money-laundering, as well as identify and restrain assets suspected to be the proceeds of crime in both countries.