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Probe into ivory theft by customs officer

Update: September, 06/2017 - 14:59
Elephant ivory seized by Hà Nội’s customs department. – VNA/VNS Illustration Photo Tuấn Anh
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình has asked Hà Nội’s police department to quickly investigate a customs officer who was caught replacing real ivory with imitations.

In the document sent to authorised agencies, Bình, who is also head of National Steering Committee No 389 for Anti-Smuggling, Counterfeit Goods and Trade Fraud, asked the police to look into the incident and take strict actions against those involved.

He has also asked the finance ministry to guide the General Department of Customs to do a comprehensive overhaul of its management, supervise what’s done with confiscated products, and remove any loopholes in the system. This request was made after the committee received a report on the recent incident.

Phạm Minh Hoàng, an employee of Hà Nội’s customs department and the keeper of the department’s storage facility, abused his role by stealing and sell 150kg of elephant ivory, which had been confiscated. Hoàng was caught red-handed replacing real ivory with fake ones.

The General Department of Customs has suspended Hoàng until the investigation is complete. Two other people have also been arrested for their involvement. Early last month, the Hà Nội police commenced criminal proceedings against Hoàng for embezzling property. — VNS

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