Asian Forensic Sciences Network Guest Speaker

On Wednesday, 11 November 2020, the Trace Evidence Working Group of the Asian Forensic Sciences Network (AFSN) held a virtual Forensic Science Symposium. Microtrace founder Skip Palenik was the invited speaker for the event. He presented a two-hour “Introduction to Forensic Hair & Fiber Microscopy with Special Attention to Databases.”

Asian Forensic Science Network

The Asian Forensic Science Network (AFSN) was formed in 2008 with the purpose of having a platform for forensic scientists in Asia to come together to discuss, share, and advance forensic science. We have grown from 6 member institutes from 6 countries in 2008 to 59 member institutes from 17 countries (as at October 2019). Currently, AFSN has 8 technical workgroups (Crime Scene Investigation, Digital Forensics, DNA, Fingerprint, Illicit Drugs, Toxicology, Trace Evidence, Questioned Documents) and a Quality Assurance and Standards Committee. AFSN holds an annual meeting every year for its members and the next upcoming meeting will be hosted by the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory at Pasay City, Philippines.

Trace Evidence Working Group

As Asian countries are diverse in forensic practices, it is important to bring together the forensic examiners in this region for networking, information exchange and mutual collaboration. In the area of trace evidence, there are a variety of trace material types involving a wide range of examinations and instrumental analysis. Hence, training and workshops on different trace evidence are organised yearly in separate meeting platforms to equip trace examiners. Other TEWG’s activities include scientific sessions for sharing of technical knowledge among the examiners, laboratory attachment of staff between TEWG member institutes, participation in collaborative exercises, and collaboration in databases (explosive and fibre). The topics of TEWG’s workshops covered in past AFSN meetings include paint interpretation, fibre analysis, explosives analysis, forensic statistics and microanalysis of traces. One of the noteworthy TEWG’s initiatives is the yearly meeting on explosives database.  It was first initiated in August 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand and the countries involved are Thailand, Korea, China, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. The goal of the initiative is to facilitate knowledge sharing and information exchange on explosive analysis through a common web-sharing platform for explosive database.

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