HCM City’s Steering Committee 389 discovers fake and smuggled goods in a warehouse last year. Photo sggp.org.vn
HCM CITY — HCM City is to step up effort in inspections to prevent trade fraud and smuggling after some of its inspections were suspended due to COVID-19, said deputy chairwoman of HCM City People's Committee Phan Thị Thắng.
Government agencies worked closely last year to monitor the situation, verify information, conduct surprise inspections, and handle violations, it said.
A number of warehouses were fined for storing goods of unknown origin and counterfeits and those that infringed intellectual property rights, it added.
Some new scams have emerged in the city.
For instance, companies and individuals using State assets such as land, factories and warehouses illegally leased them out, and lessees used them to store prohibited goods and contraband, and those of unclear origin.
Many passengers and crew members were caught taking advantage of the relaxed entry and exit policies at the city’s ports and Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport to smuggle in addictive substances, wild animals, gold, silver, foreign currencies, watches, phones, and banned and fake goods.
Smuggling and trade fraud have become increasingly sophisticated.
Trương Văn Ba, director of the HCM City Market Surveillance Department, said last year 25,538 violations were discovered involving loss of tax revenues of VNĐ5.8 trillion, and charges were filed in 113 cases.
Fighting smuggling, trade fraud and fake goods has been identified as a key task this year and needs to be done regularly to prevent them, he added.
According to the city police, city militia has been told to look out for dubious activities and crack down on the trade of prohibited, smuggled and counterfeit goods.
Drugs, weapons, illegal firecrackers, unsafe and violent toys, and cigarettes are in their sights.
The city border guard, the Southern Border Guard Soldiers' Department of Drug and Crime Prevention, naval squadron No 28, and border forces in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu and Tiền Giang provinces will look out for possible violations at estuaries, seaports and maritime borders.
The city is also calling on businesses and consumers to join hands in the fight against smuggling and trade fraud. – VNS