The Global Context of Transnational Environmental Crime in Asia

  • Rob White


This chapter presents an analysis of environmental crime in Asia from the perspective of eco-global criminology. It outlines crimes such as illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging and pollution. The relationship between North and South is integral to understanding the nature and dynamics of transnational environmental harm within this region. So, too, is examination of the power relations and social interests within and between specific places within the region. Source, transit and destination countries vary for different commodities (such as timber, illegal wildlife and waste), but for some countries these are not mutually exclusive. Likewise, victimhood and offending behavior are best interpreted in the light of specific information and particular contexts.


Transnational environmental crime Asia Eco-global criminology Wildlife trafficking Pollution Deforestation 


  1. Akella, A., & Allan, C. (2012). Dismantling Wildlife Crime: Executive Summary. Washington, DC: World Wildlife Fund.Google Scholar
  2. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). (2015a, October 19). Southeast Asiaasting Corporation (ABC)marying how each nation-state operates and responds to environmental isABC News. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from
  3. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). (2015b, October 22). South-East Asian haze strikes the Pacific as fires exceed greenhouse gas output of the US. ABC News. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from
  4. Ayling, J. (2013). What sustains wildlife crime? Rhino horn trading and the resilience of criminal networks. Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, 16(1), 57–80. Scholar
  5. Bisschop, L. (2015). Governance of the Illegal Trade in E-Waste and Tropical Timber: Case Studies on Transnational Environmental Crime. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  6. Borras, S., Jr., Franco, J., & Wang, C. (2013). The challenge of global governance of land grabbing: Changing international agricultural context and competing political views and strategies. Globalizations, 10(1), 161–179. Scholar
  7. Burrell, A., Gay, S., & Kavallari, A. (2012). The compatibility of EU biofuel policies with global sustainability and the WTO. The World Economy, 35(6), 784–798. Scholar
  8. Carrington, K., Hogg, R., & Sozzo, M. (2016). Southern criminology. British Journal of Criminology, 56(1), 1–20. Scholar
  9. Charles, C., Gerasimchuk, I., Birdle, R., Moerenhout, T., Asmelash, E., & Laan, T. (2013). Biofuelsutk/azv083// of EU Biofuels Policies. Manitoba: International Institute for Sustainable Development.Google Scholar
  10. Cooper, H. (2016, December 8). CSR Sugar owner Wilmar International linked to palm oil deforestation in Indonesia orangutan habitat. ABC News 7.30 Report. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from
  11. Cyranoski, D. (2007). Muddy waters: How did a mud volcano come to destroy an Indonesian town? Nature, 445(7130), 812–815. Scholar
  12. Davies, R., Swarbrick, R., Evans, R., & Huuse, M. (2007). Birth of a mud volcano: East Java, 29 May 2006. GSA Today, 17(2), 4–9. Scholar
  13. Elliot, L. (2014). Transnational environmental crime in the Asia-Pacific: Characteristics and key issues. In G. Rose (Ed.), Following the Proceeds of Environmental Crime: Forests, Fish and Filthy Lucre (pp. 15–27). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Fariz, D. (2012). Corruption in forest crimes. InCorruption, Environment and The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (pp. 30–33). Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.Google Scholar
  15. Field, R. (1998). Risk and justice: Capitalist production and the environment. In D. Faber (Ed.), The Struggle for Ecological Democracy: Environmental Justice Movements in the US (pp. 69–94). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  16. Ghosh, N. (2015, July 30). Tackling timber and wildlife trafficking. The Straits Times. Retrieved July 30, 2015, from
  17. Gibbs, C., McGarrell, E., & Sullivan, B. (2015). Intelligence-led policing and transnational environmental crime: A process evaluation. European Journal of Criminology, 12(2), 242–259. Scholar
  18. Global Witness. (2013). Rubber Barons: How Vietnamese Companies and International Financiers Are Driving a Land Grabbing Crisis in Cambodia and Laos. London: Global Witness.Google Scholar
  19. Greenpeace. (2014, March 31). What does the IPCC WGII report say on forests? Greenpeace briefing.
  20. Harvey, A. (2015, November 2). Borneoemb orangutans forced out of habitat by haze from Indonesian peat blaze. ABC News. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from
  21. Illes, A., & Geeraerts, K. (2016). Illegal shipments of e-waste from EU to China. In R. Sollund, R. Sollund, C. H. Stefes, & A. R. Germani (Eds.), Fighting Environmental Crime in Europe and Beyond (pp. 129–160). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2013). Summary for policymakers. InClimate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (pp. 3–29). Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. INTERPOL. (2015). Environmental Crime and its Convergence with Other Serious Crimes. Lyon: INTERPOL.Google Scholar
  24. INTERPOL and United Nations Environment Programme. (2012). Summit Report: International Chiefs of Environmental Compliance and Enforcement. Lyon, France: INTERPOL and UNEP.Google Scholar
  25. Joines, J. (2012). Globalization of e-waste and the consequences of development: A case study of China. Journal of Social Justice, 2, 1–15.Google Scholar
  26. Liu, J. (2017). The Asian Criminological Paradigm and how it links global North and South: Combining an extended conceptual toolbox from the North with innovative Asian contexts. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 6(1), 73–87. Scholar
  27. Liu, J., Hebenton, B., & Jou, S. (2013). Handbook of Asian Criminology. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lundgren, K. (2012). The Global Impact of E-Waste: Addressing the Challenge. Geneva: SafeWork and SECTOR, International Labor Office.Google Scholar
  29. Mazzini, A., Svensen, H., Akhmanov, G., Aloisi, G., Planke, S., Malthe-Sorenssen, A., et al. (2007). Triggering and dynamic evolution of the LUSI mud volcano, Indonesia. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 261(361), 375–388. Scholar
  30. Meere, F. (2009). Assessment of the Impacts of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing in the Asia-Pacific. Singapore: APEC Secretariat.Google Scholar
  31. Nellemann, C., Henriksen, R., Raxter, P., Ash, N., & Mrema, E. (Eds.). (2014). The Environmental Crime Crisis: Threats to Sustainable Development from Illegal Exploitation and Trade in Wildlife and Forest Resources. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme and GRID-Arendal.Google Scholar
  32. Ngoc, A. C., & Wyatt, T. (2012). A green criminological exploration of illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam. Journal of Asian Criminology, 8, 129–142. Scholar
  33. Pellow, D. (2007). Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  34. Petrossian, G., & Clarke, R. (2014). Explaining and controlling illegal commercial fishing: An application of the CRAAVED theft model. British Journal of Criminology, 54(1), 73–90. Scholar
  35. Santoso, T. (2012). Indonesia1c/azt061//" \o "httpand corruption. In Corruption, Environment and The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (pp. 25–29). Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.Google Scholar
  36. Setiono, B. (2007). Fighting illegal logging and forest-related financial crimes: The anti-money laundering approach. In L. Elliot (Ed.), Transnational Environmental Crime in the Asia-Pacific: A Workshop Report. Canberra: Australian National University.Google Scholar
  37. Shiva, V. (2008). Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis. Brooklyn: South End Press.Google Scholar
  38. South, N., & Brisman, A. (Eds.). (2013). The Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. South, N., & Wyatt, T. (2011). Comparing illicit trades in wildlife and drugs: An exploratory study. Deviant Behaviour, 32(6), 538–561. Scholar
  40. Takemura, N. (2012). Uncontrollable nuclear power accidents and fatal environmental harm: Why We have not been ready for the impacts of climate change. In R. White (Ed.), Climate Change from a Criminological Perspective (pp. 185–203). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. United Nations. (2006). Environmental Assessment: Hot Mud Flow East Java, Indonesia. Final Technical Report: United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Mission in June & July 2006 and Follow-Up Mission in July 2006. Geneva: Joint UN Environment Programme and UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs Environment Unit.Google Scholar
  42. United Nations Environment Programme. (2011). UNEP Year Book: Emerging Issues in Our Global Environment 2011. Nairobi, Kenya: UNEP.Google Scholar
  43. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). (2013). Threats to biodiversity. Retrieved September 4, 2013, from
  44. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2013). Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific: A Threat Assessment. Vienna: UNODC.Google Scholar
  45. Van Dinh, T. T. (2012). Addressing corruption in the environmental sector: How the United Nations Convention against Corruption provides a basis for action. InCorruption, Environment and The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (pp. 34–50). Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.Google Scholar
  46. Varkkey, H. (2013). Oil palm plantations and transboundary haze: Patronage networks and land licensing in Indonesia’s peatlands. Wetland, 33(4), 679–690. Scholar
  47. Walters, R. (2010). Toxic atmospheres: Air pollution, trade and the politics of regulation. Critical Criminology, 18(4), 307–323. Scholar
  48. Warchol, G., Zupan, L., & Clack, W. (2003). Transnational criminality: An analysis of the illegal wildlife market in Southern Africa. International Criminal Justice Review, 13(1), 1–27. Scholar
  49. White, R. (2008). Crimes Against Nature: Environmental Criminology and Ecological Justice. Collumpton: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar
  50. White, R. (2011). Transnational Environmental Crime: Towards an Eco-Global Criminology. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. White, R. (2017a). The four ways of eco-global criminology. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 6(1), 8–22. Scholar
  52. White, R. (2017b). Corruption and the securitisation of nature. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy (in press).Google Scholar
  53. White, R., & Heckenberg, D. (2014). Green Criminology: An Introduction to the Study of Environmental Harm. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Whyte, D. (Ed.). (2015). How Corrupt is Britain? London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  55. Wilson, R., & Tomkins, K. (2007). The Australian approach to combating illegal foreign fishing. In L. Elliot (Ed.), Transnational Environmental Crime in the Asia-Pacific: A Workshop Report (pp. 76–82). Canberra: Australian National University.Google Scholar
  56. Wong, R. (2015). The organization of the illegal tiger parts trade in China. British Journal of Criminology, 56(5), 995–1013. Scholar
  57. Wyatt, T. (2013a). A comparative analysis of wildlife trafficking in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Transnational Environmental Crime Project (Working Paper 6/2013). Canberra: Australian National University.Google Scholar
  58. Wyatt, T. (2013b). Wildlife Trafficking: A Deconstruction of the Crime, the Victims, and the Offenders. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zhang, L., Hua, N., & Sun, S. (2008). Wildlife trade, consumption and conservation awareness in Southwest China. Biodiversity Conservation, 17(6), 1493–1516. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rob White
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social SciencesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

Personalised recommendations