HCM CITY — The customs department has ordered its offices and Anti-Smuggling Investigation Bureau to step up the fight against smuggling, fakes, and other frauds ahead of the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) festival.
|Inspectors check on milk in a shop in the northern province of Lang Son's Vinh Trai Ward. Authorities have been ordered to step up the fight against smuggling, fake goods and other kinds of fraud ahead of the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) festival.—VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyet
It has written to custom offices in places with high incidence of smuggling, such as HCM City, Hai Phong, and Da Nang, and the provinces of Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Cao Bang, Lao Cai, Nghe An, Quang Tri, Ha Tinh, and Tay Ninh, to tighten inspection of goods and luggage at entry and exit points.
The inspections will focus on foreign liquor and beer, sugar, cigarettes, electronic and refrigeration goods, cell phones, fake money, wild animals, poultry, and livestock.
The Anti-Smuggling Investigation Bureau is responsible for collecting data from customs offices and forecasting the smuggling of major goods.
It has to then support the customs offices in drafting and implementing plans to fight smuggling.
In HCM City, the Market Watch Office seized 13,669kg of goods and 86,296 other items last month, all smuggled, banned, fake, or violating other regulations.
The goods, mostly from China, included consumer goods, foods, beer, liquor, milk, cigarettes, garments and cloth, cell phones, cosmetics, parts, watches, and eyeglasses.
In the southeastern province of Tay Ninh, though competent agencies have strengthened inspections and punished smugglers, the situation along the border remains dire, especially with regard to cigarette smuggling, local officials said.
Provincial agencies have busted 38 cases of cigarette smuggling and seized more than 55,000 packs so far this year, two times the number in the same period last year.
But the seizures are insignificant compared to the volume that gets through, the officials admitted.
Trieu Anh Hung, deputy head of the Tay Ninh Border Guard Police's Drug Crime Prevention and Control Division, said cigarette smugglers did not carry the contraband themselves but hire workers for the purpose.
"The cigarettes are stockpiled on the Cambodian side of the border from where the hired workers use motorbikes or small motor boats to transport them to designated sites," he said.
"In the Moc Bai border to Go Dau town stretch on the Trans-Asia Road, smuggled cigarettes are put into boxes of beer and instant noodles and hired workers carry them through check points," he said.
"If Tay Ninh cracks down on the smuggling, the smugglers would simply move to the neighbouring province of Long An and vice versa," he added. — VNS