This paper examines the illicit movement between Hong Kong (China) and Taiwan Province of China and discusses the effects on non-traditional security problems. The author argues that, because Hong Kong (China) reverted to Chinese rule and Taiwan Province of China increased its investment in China, the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the triangle have encouraged illicit flows of people and goods.
The paper draws on interviews with practitioners and experts in Taiwan Province of China and Hong Kong (China). Details about the sample size or selection process are not provided. In addition, the author examined police documents from Hong Kong (China), Philippines and China.
The author concludes that the illicit flows of people and goods within the Taiwan-China-Hong Kong triangle are shaped and exacerbated by several factors. First, political fragmentation combined with political hostility prevents effective communication among the three entities, despite their economic integration. Thus, smugglers are able to make use of the economic infrastructure between the States while, at the same time, the three States obstruct each other’s anti-smuggling measures due to mistrust and hostility. Second, the political nature of their borders is specifically problematic in the case of China and Taiwan Province of China, specifically as China claims that Taiwan Province of China is part of the People’s Republic of China while Taiwan Province of China considers itself as "de facto" independent.
Third, the important roles the three States have within the world economy means that the illicit flows that are exacerbated by conditions within the triangle are exported to other countries in Asia. Ultimately, the author argues, the conflict becomes a problem for the rest of the world because of the export flows of organized crime and smuggling. Thus, the hostility and political fragmentation result in a problem not just for the three States but also for much of the world.
The paper offers insight on irregular migration and migrant smuggling from China to Taiwan Province of China. According to the study, 90 per cent of all irregular migrants from China originated from the province of Fujian. The study also points to the complicity of some Fujian officials in migrant smuggling schemes.
The paper highlights the threats that illicit flows, including migrant smuggling, pose to the security of the region and to the world. It emphasizes the importance of cross-border police cooperation in combating illicit cross-border flows.