|Smugglers use high-speed boats to transport goods from Cambodia to Châu Đốc City in An Giang Province. – Photo tuoitre.vn|
MEKONG DELTA – Cross-border smugglers are transporting goods from Cambodia to the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces by using boats during floods.
The wet season in southern Việt Nam has made the task of patrolling the border with Cambodia more difficult, especially during floods.
The most common smuggled goods are Thai sugar and foreign cigarettes like Hero and Jet brands.
Cigarettes are among the consumer goods that have attracted high taxes, including alcohol and beer.
Demand for sweet products was especially high during the end of year, and the price difference between Vietnamese sugar and Thai sugar contributed to an increase in smuggling activity.
The three hotspots for smuggling in the region are the provinces of An Giang, Đồng Tháp and Kiên Giang, all of which border Cambodia.
Smugglers often use high-speed boats to transport smuggled goods from Cambodia to provinces during night when it is too dark to identify the border line clearly.
When the goods cross the border line, smugglers hire locals as porters to transport the goods to residential areas.
Tobacco smugglers usually carry about 300 cigarette packages and travel in groups of two to five.
To receive tip-offs about police activity, the smugglers hire people to keep watch along smuggling routes.
Sugar smugglers have established fake companies, falsifying documents to make the product appear legal, and have repackaged the sugar with bags used for legal sugar.
In the third quarter of the year, the authorities uncovered 501 cases of smuggling, about 10 per cent more than the third quarter of last year.
The value of total smuggled goods was VNĐ12 billion ($US 530,000), including more than 330,000 foreign cigarette packages and 210 tonnes of smuggled sugar, according to the An Giang Province Steering Committee 389. — VNS