|The task force of Cầu Muống Border Guards patrolling on Sở Thượng River. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhựt An|
ĐỒNG THÁP — The Cầu Muống Border Guards in the Mekong Delta province of Đồng Tháp have handled 36 smuggling cases involving three individuals, all during the flood season from July.
Over 25,250 packets of foreign cigarettes, 7,000 kilogrammes of refined sugar, nine motorbikes and three petrol motors were seized by the Border Guards in these cases.
The crimes were mostly committed in the border area between Đồng Tháp and Prey Veng province in Cambodia, where paddy fields are flooded and create difficulties for authorities to capture smugglers.
Ngô Văn Mỏng, 40, of Hồng Ngự District, Đồng Tháp Province was one of them. In September, the task force of Cầu Muống Border Guards in an inspection around Sở Thượng River found Mỏng riding a motorboat from Tứ Thường.
As Mỏng's actions were suspicious, the task force asked him to stop, and found 3,000 cigarette packets being smuggled on board.
Earlier, the task force underwent an operation to search for smugglers in Thường Lạc Ward. Many boats were stopped on the water due to suspicious behaviour, but they did not stop and tried to ran away.
The Border Guards chased and forced these individuals to leave their smuggled goods behind. The culprits escaped, but 2,000 kilogrammes of refined sugar and three vessels were seized by the authorities.
"We ran into some trouble in this flood season," said Major Nguyễn Danh Phong, Deputy Commanding Officer for Service of the Cầu Muống Border Guards.
"The area where we guard is located near a nine-kilometre river, which is great for smugglers to exploit and bring their goods inland," Phong added.
During flood season, the water levels in Thường Lạc, Thường Thới Hậu A rise to around 1.5 to 2 metres, and are favourable for smugglers with high-speed water vehicles.
The border between Đồng Tháp and Prey Veng is more than 50 kilometres in length with 40 kilometres of river border. In flood season, there are storms with heavy rain and strong winds that greatly affected the deployment of squadrons.
The lack of border guards also make their work harder. Sneaky smugglers even stalk border patrols disguised as fishermen to sneak past the border guards. When captured, some resort to resisting the officers.
At the beginning of the flood season, the 1389 Steering Committee of the Border Guards Headquarters planned to prevent smuggling.
According to the head of the Cầu Muống Border Guards, they are trying to raise the awareness of the public about smuggling.
Citizens are advised not to smuggle or help smugglers, as well as collaborate with authorities to stop the smuggling and illegal transportation of goods over the border. Guard posts and patrol teams are also increased.
"The officers are relentless in their patrol and capture of smugglers, even in flood season," said Trương Bé Ba of Bình Hòa Hạ Village in Hồng Ngự Ward.
"We are regularly updated and informed by the border guards as well as authorities on smuggling. The officers advised us to report to authorities whenever smuggling occurs," Ba added.
In the first nine months of 2022, the Việt Nam border guards have handled 250 cases involving 30 individuals. Goods include cigarettes (185,408 packets), diesel (900 litres), DO oil (260 litres), refined sugar (19,600 kilogrammes), 43 motorbikes, 11 boats and 12 motor engines with a total value of VNĐ3 billion (US$120,797).
Fighting smugglers is Đồng Tháp Border Guards' top priority. They are resolved to collaborate with related authorities to capture these criminals and help stabilise the border area during flood season. — VNS