Fighting smugglers during the pandemic

Update: September, 23/2021 - 08:17


Major General Trần Văn Nam, Deputy Commander of the Vietnam Coast Guard. —Photo

Major General Trần Văn Nam, Deputy Commander of the Vietnam Coast Guard, talked with Tin Tức (News) online newspaper on combatting illegal smuggling and trade fraud while dealing with the complex situation of COVID-19.

How do you assess the current smuggling and trade fraud situation at sea?

In the first eight months of 2021, criminal activities at sea, particularly smuggling and trade fraud, are complicated. Criminals have been exploiting the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, creating difficulties for the law enforcement authorities in monitoring and patrolling, especially the Việt Nam Coast Guard. The Government has given us a double mission: to prevent the pandemic properly, as well as ensure law enforcement at sea.

Criminals operate mostly in the northeast, central, and southwest regions of the sea. The perpetrators utilise many ploys such as using legal people as cover to legally purchases and transport goods. They also split up goods such as tobacco to avoid the prosecution limit and exploit the temporary import, and re-export policies to bring contraband goods to land.

Recently, these perpetrators have been increasingly resisting law enforcement. They have exploited the current pandemic and the lack of goods to execute law violations including the sale and import of illegal contraband goods.

Can you summarise the results of crackdowns on illegal smuggling and trade fraud at sea of the Việt Nam Coast Guard?

From the beginning of 2021, the Việt Nam Coast Guard has executed two operations to crack down on criminal activities including illegal smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods.

The first was carried out before, during, and after the Lunar New Year period and the second during the action month against drug trafficking in June 2021. The Việt Nam Coast Guard uncovered 39 violations involving 148 individuals, collected more than 3.500 tonnes of coal, more than 1,8 million litres of diesel oil, and 23,000 kilograms of furnace oil, along with 3.500 kilograms of animal bones and horns and wild animals that are banned from circulation and firecrackers. All the above mentioned violations were handled in line with the law.

The results have shown the great capabilities of the Việt Nam Coast Guard in monitoring situations at sea and utilising criminal prevention and control measures as well as handling violations in accordance with the law. The Việt Nam Coast Guard has also been working closely with other agencies to handle violations safely and effectively in line with COVID-19 prevention and control regulations.

What do you think about smuggling and trade fraud situation at sea from now until the end of 2021?

Smuggling, trade fraud, as well as crimes at sea, will get complicated at the end of the year, especially around the Tết holiday amid the context of the complicated development of the pandemic. Criminals will surely make use of difficulties in doing business and transportation, the shortage of goods, and especially the focus of authorities in pandemic prevention and control to execute criminal offences.

The methods of smuggling and trade fraud will be tricky and aggressive. Most notably, criminals will use advanced technical tools at sea to observe, collect information as well as to stay alert against forces. Also, they will fully exploit bad weather conditions to commit offences. And those are the threats we can identify.

We predict that criminals will aggressively resist and unite with each other to work at sea between Việt Nam and foreign countries to easily escape and evade law enforcement authorities. The Vietnam Coast Guard must at the same time prevent the pandemic while increasing patrols to monitor situations at sea to prevent smuggling. Guard ships will be regularly used to patrol and prevent smuggling, trade fraud and other violations in the final months of the year. — VNS

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