|Economic police from Mong Cai city of Quang Ninh province make an inventory of smuggled and illegally transported goods. — VNA/VNS Photo Doan Tan
HA NOI (VNS)– As many as 11,500 cases of smuggling and trade fraud have been uncovered in the first seven months of this year alone, the General Department of Vietnam Customs reported yesterday.
The smuggled goods were estimated to be worth nearly VND119 billion (US$ 5.3 million).
According to the committee, more than VND90.5 billion ($4.2 million) was contributed to the State budget during this period of time through seizure of smuggled goods.
"Authorities nation-wide have conducted spot checks and imposed fines on over 130,000 violations since the committee's establishment in 2014, which helped contribute around VND4 trillion ($178 million) to the State budget," said deputy head of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Nguyen Van Can.
"Authorities have prosecuted over 800 cases and arrested nearly 1,000 violators," he added.
"The police, army and customs have been fighting smuggling, trade fraud and fake products but smugglers are using increasing sophisticated techniques," Can said.
The committee identified the main areas of smuggling including Ha Noi, HCM City, Quang Ninh, Da Nang, the border provinces of Lang Son and Lao Cai as well as some central and southern provinces.
"The most common illegally trafficked products include drugs, weapons, documents, wild animals, wood, gold, foreign liquor, oil, minerals, cigarettes, automobiles, machinery, refrigerators, food and many other types of goods," Can said.
"Offenders are usually import-export enterprises, people living near border areas and individuals who often cross borders".
"Fighting smuggling and trade fraud is very difficult because many local authorities aren't concerned with anti-smuggling activities," Can said, adding that the implementation of plans to combat smuggling is limited and lacks co-operation between relevant agencies.
"Another sad fact is that the production of contraband had become more sophisticated. However, most Vietnamese enterprises are indifferent when discovering that their products had been copied and sold as genuine items," Can complained.
"Instead of co-operating with authorities, they avoided the situation, for fear of affecting their sales," Can said.
To combat this, the committee is running an online Command Room on a trial basis, which connects all the data systems of custom supervision.
With the system, the committee can control and detect fraud and smuggling at hotspots.
In line with the Government's target "there is no forbidden zone" in the fight against smuggling, the customs department has instructed agencies to impose tough punishment on customs officials who harass individuals and enterprises.
Businesses and producers should provide comprehensive product detail to prevent the illegal trade in counterfeit goods, as it is difficult to differentiate genuine from fake items, Can said. — VNS