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Customs Agency cleared in heroin smuggling case

Update: December, 03/2013 - 09:56
According to Tran Ma Thong, deputy chief of the HCM City's Customs, the agency currently examines goods going through the customs gate based on the content of declaration forms filled out by companies.— Photo laodong

HCM CITY (VNS)— The HCM City's Customs Agency confirmed yesterday that officers followed correct procedures, though they twice failed to detect 229-kilos in heroin transported from Viet Nam earlier this month.

The heroin, worth US$300 million, was hidden in 12 empty stereo speakers, which were loaded onto a China Airlines cargo aircraft heading to Taiwan at Tan Son Nhat Airport on November 16.

The Long Van Fowarding Company was registered as the exporter of the consignment, according to officials.

Shortly after the plane landed at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, at 3.20am on November 17, the speakers were inspected by authorities.

Police dogs discovered the heroin hidden inside the speakers, which were covered with chocolate in an attempt to avoid being detected by dogs.

According to Tran Ma Thong, deputy chief of the HCM City's Customs, the agency currently examines goods going through the customs gate based on the content of declaration forms filled out by companies.

The customs system, based upon such forms, will classify goods into three groups: blue, yellow and red. For the blue groups, only some information is examined before the goods proceed. For the yellow and red groups, stricter scanning procedures are applied.

The consignment from Long Van Company, he said, was classified by the customs system as belonging in the blue group. When the customs officers found no difference between information in the declaration form and in the system, they let the goods be loaded for export.

"This is a simple process with no customs examination," Thong said.

He also said that the customs scanning device was not used on this consignment because the goods were previously identified as belonging to the "blue group".

Police dogs were also not used, he said.

Thong added that, currently, there are many priorities for export goods, though most are free from customs scanning, as only some are subjected to examination.

Chief of the city's Customs Agency Nguyen Thi Hong said many companies violate regulations on exports.

For instance, there were situations in which companies would not finish the procedures for export goods if the goods were classified as belonging to yellow or red groups.

Instead, they would transfer the goods to other companies and again submit them in order for the goods to be processed through customs. — VNS

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