When you are right, it is a good idea to brag about your success. At least that is what the Hong Kong police plan to do when they push for greater co-operation between foreign law enforcement agencies at this week's Transnational Organised Crime Conference. To demonstrate the effectiveness of combining brains and law enforcement muscle, the police will showcase two triumphs in recent years that prove co-operation can lead to good police work - and be profitable too. 'Both examples illustrate the importance of co-operation, and we will use them to try and position Hong Kong's role against transnational organised crime,' says Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Yam Tat-wing. The first case involves joint police work across three jurisdictions. In 1989, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) worked with the Colombian police to launch operation 'Bolivar', targeting drug syndicate leader Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez-Gacha, a key figure in the infamous Medellin Cartel. During the operation, documents were seized from the home of Rodriguez-Gacha, who was indicted in the US on charges of importing vast amounts of cocaine from Colombia to the US via Nicaragua and the Bahamas. The documents revealed the syndicate had a network of global bank accounts, including some in Hong Kong. The DEA passed the information on to the Financial Investigations arm of the Narcotics Bureau of the Hong Kong police, suggesting that the assets be traced and seized, pending the outcome of the US investigation. The Financial Investigations department helped the DEA identify the accounts, thereby successfully restraining HK$65 million, says Terence Leung Lap-fun, superintendent of the Narcotics Bureau, Financial Investigations. The investigation and legal process took more than 10 years, Mr Leung adds. The confiscation was subject to considerable delay because Rodriguez-Gacha's family had filed legal challenges to the restraint proceedings in the US, which were taken as far as the Supreme Court. In October 1997, the US sought Hong Kong's assistance in registering and enforcing two judgments from completed civil forfeiture proceedings in US courts to confiscate all funds in the syndicate's Hong Kong accounts. In August 1998, the US judgments were registered with the High Court of Hong Kong, resulting in more than HK$69 million being transferred to the government coffers. In recognition of the US contribution to the investigation, the Hong Kong government approved an asset-sharing proposal, handing more than HK$27.5 million to US authorities. The second case began in 1998 when the Hong Kong police uncovered intelligence that a transnational drugs trafficking syndicate was planning to purchase an ocean-going vessel in Thailand. Through the combined efforts of the Australian Federal Police, the DEA and the Royal Thai Police, the vessel was identified. The early stages of the investigation established that the syndicate was planning to smuggle drugs to Japan. The information was passed on to Japan's National Police Association, with two Narcotics Bureau officers assisting in the investigation. In July 1999, Japanese authorities raided the vessel in Hamada Port, in the Shimane Prefecture, resulting in the seizure of 101 kg of 'ice' hidden inside two fire extinguishers. Fourteen people were arrested.