|. More than 10 million cigarette packets were confiscated this year, a 19 per cent increase compared with the previous years. A crackdown on cigarette smuggling will be initiated till the Tet holiday. — Photo dantri.com.vn
HCM City (VNS) — More than 10 million cigarette packets were confiscated and VND21 billion (US$932,000), collected as fines, was added to the state budget in 2015.
This was announced at a summary meeting held by the national steering board on smuggling, fake goods and commercial cheating prevention (steering board 398) yesterday in HCM City.
The number of cases involving smuggling of cigarettes this year decreased 30 per cent compared with last year, Chairman of Viet Nam Cigarette Association Vu Van Cuong said.
The size and number of cigarette smuggling cases as well as the number of people involved fell compared with last year, while the number of cigarette packets seized was more than 10 billion in 2015, a 19 per cent increase compared with previous years, steering board 398's report said.
The fall in cigarette smuggling was attributed to the synchronised implementation of Instruction 30/CT-TTg on strengthening cigarette smuggling prevention work, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who heads steering board 398, said.
However, cigarette smuggling would continue to be a difficult challenge in the future and though smuggling cigarettes was illegal, it was not difficult to purchase and sell it, Phuc said.
Phuc said the public security ministry needed to collaborate with customs agencies, border guards and coastal guards to crack down on cigarette smuggling and consumption in the near future, especially till the Tet holiday.
"By detecting the leaders of the smuggling ring, creating transparency of authorities and gaining the support of the local people, we will win the struggle against cigarette smuggling," Phuc said.
Given that smuggled Jet and Hero cigarettes account for 80 per cent of the total cigarette consumption in Viet Nam, the Viet Nam Cigarette Association has suggested to the related authorities that the brand registration of Jet and Hero cigarettes of Indonesia's Sumatra Tobacco Trade Company should be suspended in Viet Nam.
Nearly 9,700 cases of smuggling, involving 6,000 persons, were detected and prosecution was initiated in 179 cases against 263 people in 2015. — VNS