HA NOI (VNS) — Cigarette smuggling can break out afresh after the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday because of increasing demand for foreign products, police in border provinces say.
Early this month, the Waterway Police Department in the southern province of An Giang were conducting a patrol in Chau Thanh District's Can Dang Commune when they saw two men behaving suspiciously. They fled on seeing the police, leaving behind 5,000 packets of smuggled cigarettes.
Last month, the provincial police seized more than 68,000 packets of cigarettes.
In another southern province, Kien Giang, the Duong Dong Port Border Guards seized 18,000 packets of cigarettes being brought by boat. It was the biggest haul recorded so far on Phu Quoc Island.
Two days earlier the Duong Dong Port Border Guards had confiscated about 1,000 packets of illegally imported cigarettes at the Phu Quoc International Airport.
Under Circular 19 issued by the Ministry of Finance early last month, localities are to receive VND500 (US$0.02) for each packet of smuggled cigarettes destroyed, a five-fold increase over the amount set previously (Circular 57 issued in 2012).
The southern province of Dong Thap last year seized nearly a million packets of smuggled cigarettes, but the Viet Nam Cigarettes Association has said that the province will receive fees based on the old circular. Provincial authorities are not happy, saying they lack funds and should be paid the amount mentioned in the new circular.
Tay Ninh Province, also in the south, awaits word on which circulars will apply before destroying 340,000 packets of cigarettes that it has seized. — VNS