|An Giang Province borders Cambodia, and has become a hotbed for smuggling in recent years. — Photo VNA
AN GIANG (VNS) — Police and market watch forces in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang have started a campaign against smuggling in border areas.
An Giang Province borders Cambodia, and has become a hotbed for smuggling in recent years. Running until February 22, the campaign focuses on reducing tobacco, sugar and wine trafficking.
Police have taken steps to prevent the illegal practice, but it is becoming more complicated. Smuggling is on the rise as Tet approaches and demand for goods increases. Gold, electronics, wood and wine are some of the most popular smuggled products.
Phan Loi, head of the provincial Market Watch Department, said smuggling has become more prevalent because the region has been more open and integrated in recent years, and local products haven't been able to compete with foreign-made ones.
Smugglers often transport goods in the middle of the night or early in the morning to get them over the border more easily, he said. They also separate products into smaller packages to make them easier to hide, and change locations to make it more difficult for authorised forces to discover them, he said.
More seriously, many smugglers have used violence against authorised forces. Three smugglers recently fought local authorised forces with stones and sticks when they were discovered. They also burned down a house to destroy evidence of illegal goods being stored there, he said.
Mai Thi Anh Tuyet, director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said An Giang Province had both flat and mountainous terrain, and a nearly 100km border with Cambodia. These attributes made it difficult to prevent and control smuggling, she said. Overlapping legal documents on smuggling and trade fraud also hindered the campaign, she said.
Tuyet proposed stricter measures to punish smugglers. Those found smuggling 500 or more packs of cigarettes should face criminal charges, instead of the current 1,500 packs, she said. — VNS