Customs busts ring of smugglers

Update: October, 04/2016 - 09:00
Elephant tusks seized in a smuggling case. – Illustrative Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Politburo member and Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình yesterday sent a letter complimenting the General Department of Việt Nam Customs for discovering the trans-border trafficking of elephant tusks.

Last Saturday, the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department under the General Department of Việt Nam Customs in co-ordination with Hà Nội’s Customs Department seized 309kg of elephant tusks hid in a sophisticated manner in imported packages of goods at the Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội.

The goods were transported on an Etihad Airway plane from the Lagos Airport in Nigeria to the Nội Bài International Airport.

Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình, who is also head of the National Steering Committee on Combating Smuggling, Commercial Fraud and Counterfeit Goods, also known as National Steering Committee 389, on behalf of the Prime Minister and the committee, acknowledged and praised the excellent achievement of the General Department of Việt Nam Customs.

The seizure contributed greatly to the implementation of the government’s resolution on Combating Smuggling, Commercial Fraud and Counterfeit Goods in the new current context and the Prime Minister’s directive recently issued on September 17, 2016, on measures to prevent and fight illegal wildlife trade, he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister asked the Ministry of Finance to order the General Department of Việt Nam Customs to work with relevant authorised agencies to continue the case’s investigation and impose stiff penalties on violators following regulations.

Earlier under the directive, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc instructed the Ministry of Public Security and other concerned ministries to “organise campaigns to destroy trans-border organised crime groups, which are involved in trading, storing, trafficking and importing/exporting illegal specimens of wildlife species, especially ivory and rhino horns.”

Besides gold and weapons, elephant tusks are a popular good smuggled by air, according to the General Department of Việt Nam Customs.

Official statistics from the department reveal that customs officers handled 353 cases of goods being illegally transported by air in the first six months of 2016, worth more than VNĐ14 billion (US$627,000) in total. — VNS