|Market Watch workers inspect goods seized from small traders. Smuggling is increasing in HCM City despite city authorities' efforts to stop it. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyet
HCM CITY (VNS) — Smuggling, copyright piracy and other commercial offences are continuing despite their best efforts, HCM City authorities told Deputy Primer Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday.
So far this year the city investigated 43,217 suspected cases and uncovered 39,542 crimes — 3,241 related to selling prohibited and smuggled goods, 366 to fake, low-quality, and pirated goods, 10,607 to cheating, and 25,328 to other offences.
Police commenced criminal proceedings in 105 cases and plan to do so in 85 others. Over VND3 trillion (US$150 million) was seized from the offenders.
"Smuggling is very complicated. Smugglers resort to both official and unofficial imports, especially from China, Cambodia, and Laos," Phan Hoan Kiem, head of the city Market Watch Department, told Thoi Bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) newspaper.
His department has asked the Government for funds to buy modern equipment and pay rewards to people helping bust smuggling activities.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said, "Market Watch and other related authorities should work together and keep the pressure up against smuggling,"
Phuc, who heads the National Steering Committee on combating smuggling, hailed the city's efforts to combat smuggling, but noted that fake goods and fraud continue to badly impact businesses.
He said the city should improve management and personnel training to give anti-smuggling efforts a boost before Tet early next year, oversight of imports, and co-ordination among market authorities, border guards, and other related authorities.
"A model to mobilise the community to fight smuggling and commercial fraud should be created," he added.
The numbers of drug and smuggling crimes involving foreigners is reported to be on the rise in HCM City.
Major General Phan Anh Minh, deputy head of the city's Police Department, said that in the first nine months of this year there were 16 major cases of trafficking heroin, cocaine and drug making ingredients into and out of Viet Nam via Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
The city now has over 19,000 drug addicts, an increase of 7,000 since the end of last year, he said.
However, Minh said it was hard for police to catch addicts because most used them in the privacy of their own homes.
A representative of the city Market Watch Department said that smuggling, especially of tobacco, had risen because of big profits.
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Phuc said that managers of government departments were suspected of dealing with smugglers.
The city's authorised agencies were ordered to train managerial officers and strictly handle with violations, he said.
The city should build a model that calling upon all local residents act to fight against crimes, he said.
Deputy head of the Viet Nam Customs Nguyen Ngoc Tuc also predicted that trafficking wildlife products and petrol would rise in coming months. — VNS