Company directors arrested for allegedly illegal scrap import

Update: August, 31/2018 - 09:00
Containers were found to contain scrap at HCM City’s Cát Lái Port but no one has claimed ownership. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Hải
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Police on Wednesday launched legal proceeding against directors and personnel at three companies in Ninh Bình Province and HCM City for alleged involvement in the illegal importation of scrap.

The four suspects are Nguyễn Văn Sơn, director and Dương Văn Phương, employee of Trường Thịnh Packaging Private Company based in the northern province of Ninh Bình, Nguyễn Đức Trường, director of Đức Đạt Ltd Company, and Dương Tuấn Anh, chairman of Hồng Việt Production, Trade and Services Ltd Company based in HCM City.

The Ministry of Public Security announced on Wednesday that police have arrested the four suspects and searched their places of residence. They face the charge of illegal cross-border transportation of goods and funds.

The investigative unit under the ministry and Việt Nam Customs’ Anti-Smuggling Department have expanded their investigation into the case.

Moreover, police and customs have been investigating violations and violators related to over 10,000 unclaimed containers at sea ports in Việt Nam. Of the containers with unidentified owners, many were found to store scrap.

Early this month, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment announced that it would inspect 75 units involved in importing and using scrap as production materials.

The Vietnam Environment Administration along with 64 organisations and 10 departments are subject to the inspection – the biggest ever of its kind in Việt Nam regarding violations in environment protection.

Among the 64 organisations, 54 were certified by the ministry as being eligible to import scrap as production materials while the other 10 were certified by environmental departments in cities and provinces. According to the General Department of Customs, in the first five months of 2018, Việt Nam imported more than two million tonnes of scrap steel, worth US$744 million.

Most imports came from Japan, with 564,000 tonnes worth $200 million. At the Government’s monthly press conference in July, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc demanded that “Việt Nam must not become a landfill that will damage people’s living conditions and the country’s image.”

The Government leader ordered customs authorities, the environmental ministry, the transport ministry and local administrations whose major ports struggle with scrap containers to review their policies and activities, and to “learn their lessons” from having let the situation get out of control in the first place.

Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Trần Hồng Hà said the ministry is considering a total ban on the import of scrap. Besides comprehensive inspections and a thorough revamp of scrap import permit mechanisms, heavy fines and revoking business licences are all on the table as possible solutions, he added. — VNS