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Customs officials seize 17 tonnes of smuggled sugar

Update: July, 23/2015 - 14:00
Illustration image. According to the customs officials, illegal sales and transportation of commodities without adequate papers were quite common during this time of the year. — Photo baochinhphu.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Customs officials at the Lao Bao special trade and economic zone in the central Quang Tri Province have seized about 17 tonnes of smuggled sugar since last month.

The latest case was detected on Tuesday, when they checked a passenger coach, with registration number 74K-1469, owned by Hai Lang Transport Cooperative number one.

A joint force of the zone's custom officials and Tan Hop checkpoint officials inspected the vehicle and found 15 tonnes of Thai white sugar, allegedly smuggled into Viet Nam, the online government newspaper reported.

The cargo was hidden under the passenger seats, in luggage trunks, and in a secret compartment on the vehicle's roof.

The coach driver, Huynh Van Khanh, told the authorities that he bought the goods at the Lao Bao special trade and economic zone on the Viet Nam – Laos border, and had planned to sell them in the province's Dong Ha City. He did not have any legal documents showing the place of origin of the sugar. He had intended to avoid declaring the goods to customs officials while travelling through the zone's Gate B.

This case was one of many that the authorities have detected since June.

Early this month, nearly 10 tonnes of the same Thai sugar were seized in five such cases.

However, the largest seizure was made on June 14, when the Lao Bao special economic and trade zone and Quang Tri Police's anti-smuggling force, patrolling the area near the zone's Gate B, found some people loading smuggled goods. While these people escaped, the police seized 11 tonnes of white sugar from Thailand, worth VND165 million (US$7,600).

According to the customs officials, illegal sales and transportation of commodities without adequate papers were quite common during this time of the year.

The smugglers often used the space underneath vehicles to conceal the goods, baochinhphu.vn reported.

They even assigned persons to keep watch when authorities patrolled an area, or divided goods into small quantities to transport them on foot at night.

Local authorities are reinforcing patrolling teams and inspections in key areas such as border lines, the zone's Gate B, National Highway 9 and sea routes. They are also making the local people more aware about the issue to get help in preventing smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods. — VNS

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