|HCM City customs and police cooperated in the busting of a trafficking case of 500kg of ketamine in 2019. — Photo from HCM City Customs|
HÀ NỘI — The General Department of Việt Nam Customs will participate in Operation Mekong Dragon IV, a joint regional operation against drug and wildlife trafficking, from April 15 to September 15 this year, the department has announced.
Under Operation Mekong Dragon IV, local customs units are requested to accelerate collection of information regarding drug and wildlife trafficking across Việt Nam and the methods and tactics that traffickers use. The information will be used for risk analysis and warnings to improve the effectiveness of customs inspection and supervision.
Initiated by Việt Nam and China, Operation Mekong Dragon was launched in September 2018, and has gone through three main and one expanded phases, drawing the participation of 20 customs authorities and law enforcement agencies in Asia Pacific. Over 1,200 drug and wildlife trafficking cases have been reported to the Customs Enforcement Network Communication Platform (CENcomm).
The first phase of the operation brought together six countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion, namely Việt Nam, China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. The participation in the second phase was expanded to nine, namely Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Hong Kong (China), India, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand and Singapore.
Ending the first phase in February 2019, 164 cases were discovered with nearly 2,230kg of drugs seized.
During the second phase, which lasted until 2020, 284 drug and wildlife smuggling cases were brought to light, with close to 2,000kg of drugs and nearly 2 million drug pills; 2,000kg of wildlife animals and more than 1,500 wildlife products; and some 150 tonnes and 1,000 cu.m of rare woods seized.
Running in 2021, the third phase saw the participation of law enforcement agencies from 20 member countries and territories in Asia Pacific. It detected 868 cases, including 756 related to drug trafficking and 112 related to wildlife and wood smuggling. — VNS