Viet Nam News
TÂY NINH – Tobacco smuggling continues to get more complex in southern Tây Ninh Province and has increased remarkably during the year end, the Voice of Việt Nam (VOV) online newspaper reported.
The provincial border guard has been seizing some 1,000 packages of cigarettes each day.
Tây Ninh has a 240km border with Cambodia with even and flat terrain, creating favourable conditions for smugglers to operate, according to local authorities.
The transportation, storage and trade of smuggled cigarettes have, however, become more elaborate and smugglers have started using more complicated tactics, making it harder for authorised agencies to detect the illegal activities.
Smugglers use motorcycles, motorboats and high-speed cars to transport large shipments. The transportation of contraband cigarettes often takes place at night. The cigarettes are then shipped mainly via river routes in large quantities.
Smugglers often use ingenious methods to hide the tobacco, scattering it at many places or storing some 15 to 20 packs in each person’s house. Tobacco is not kept indoors for a long time, usually about an hour, and is then transported by motorcycles, cars or boats with the assistance of locals along the border.
Many smuggling gangs and organisations also co-operate with each other to fight against authorised forces on duty.
Nguyễn Hoài Phương, head of the Tây Ninh Border Guard, said apart from fixed stations, nine more mobile stations have been set up to inspect and crack down on tobacco smuggling.
Preventive measures have also been implemented, focusing on ensuring that locals do not lend a hand to smugglers, by increasing information dissemination to raise awareness and by working with local authorities to create jobs so that they do not need to assist in smuggling activities, he said.
In the future, the local border guard will continue launching campaigns against smuggling.
However, the lack of anti-smuggling forces has made the war more difficult, he said.
Southern localities are considered the smuggling hub of the country.
The Ministry of Public Security noted that smuggled cigarettes account for 24-25 per cent of the domestic market, while the confiscated amount accounts for only 6-7 per cent.
Smuggling causes a range of issues -- from potential consumer health problems and failure of tax collection, to public disorder and corruption among officials. – VNS