Viet Nam News
AN GIANG — Smuggling has long been a pressing issue in the southern provinces that share hundreds of kilometres of border with Cambodia and Thailand.
With many rivers, paddy fields and thousands of easily-crossed trails, An Giang, Kiên Giang and Đồng Tháp provinces are ripe for the illegal trade of goods between the two foreign countries and Việt Nam, the online dantri.com.vn reported.
“Goods smuggling and trade fraud happens most frequently in An Giang Province during the flood season,” Colonel Lý Kế Tùng, deputy commander of An Giang border guard was quoted as saying.
The province’s hotspots for smuggling are An Phú District’s Long Bình Town, Tịnh Biên District’s Tịnh Biên Town, and Tân Châu Town’s Vĩnh Xương Commune, he said.
Tobacco is the most common smuggled good from Thailand to the province. Some 500,000 illegally traded packs of cigarettes were seized in the province in the first half of this year, a 10 per cent increase compared to the same period of last year.
Sugar smugglers use the Bình Di River between Việt Nam and Cambodia in the province’s An Phú District to sneak sugar from Thailand to Việt Nam, according to leaders of the customs office of the district’s Khánh Bình border gate. Some 400 tonnes of Thai sugar were smuggled into the country during the first half of this year.
Smuggled tobacco, sugar and cosmetics worth hundreds of millions of đồng have been seized in Kiên Giang Province since the beginning of this year, according to customs officials of the province’s Hà Tiên border gate.
Some 50 goods smuggling cases were discovered during the first half of this year in the southern Đồng Tháp Province’s Hồng Ngự District, from which packs of cigarette and three tonnes of Thailand sugar were confiscated, said customs officials of the province’s Cầu Muống border station.
The smugglers’ tricks to slip under the authorities’ radar have become more advanced, according to customs officials.
Smuggled goods are gathered near the border then divided into smaller packages or placed together with legally traded goods, they said.
Smugglers take advantage of local residents’ unemployment, their skill with motorboats and fishing vessels and their knowledge of local topography to hire them to deliver smuggled goods.
Instead of keeping the illegally traded tobacco at their homes or in warehouses like in the past, smugglers now hide them in vast areas and assign locals living in the neighbourhoods to watch the goods.
These watchmen are told to abandon the goods and transportations and run if discovered, making it difficult for authorities to seize them and the goods. — VNS