8kg of synthetic drugs is found inside packs of puzzles at Mộc Bài Border Gate on July 17, 2019. — VNA/VNS Photo
TÂY NINH — With the year coming to a close, drug trafficking in southern Viet Nam is on the rise, according to local authorities.
A total 5kg of synthetic drugs was found in luggage belonging to Cambodian national Miech Sreyneang after being scanned at Mộc Bài Border Gate in the southern province of Tây Ninh on December 2.
Earlier, on October 27, Mộc Bài Border Gate customs seized 5kg of meth hidden inside Cambodian man Hai Dieb’s bag. He was then arrested for further investigation.
Some 13kg of synthetic drugs was confiscated by the Ministry of Public Security’s Department of Anti-smuggling investigation and HCM City Police in September also at the border gate.
The drugs were hidden inside the engine block of a coach from Phnom Penh en route to HCM City.
Heroin, cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are taken from Cambodia and hidden among imported cargo and tourists luggage through local border gates of Mộc Bài and Xa Mát to HCM City and other southern provinces.
Traffickers try all means to disable scanners and service dogs, including dividing the shipment into smaller loads and wrapping the drugs in thick layers of tape and hiring tourists to deliver them.
To track down international drug trafficking rings, Tây Ninh Province has launched several investigations into seizures and signed agreements with three Cambodia’s localities of Svay Rieng, Tbong Khmum and Prey Veng to tighten monitoring along the border between the two countries.
In 2017, Tây Ninh Province’s law enforcement forces collaborated with Cambodia’s Bavet City Police to confiscate a record haul of nearly 63,500 drug tablets weighing 17kg, Hải Quan (Customs) newspaper reported.
From 2016 to September 2019, provincial authorities started legal proceedings in 40 drug-trafficking cases involving 58 traffickers and more than 103kg of synthetic drugs.
A border liaison office has also been established between the two countries to exchange information on drug rings, suspects and tactics criminals use to deliver drugs from Cambodia to Việt Nam. Tây Ninh Province Police tackled two drug trafficking cases thanks to information collected by the office.
The end of 2019 and the coming Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) are expected to witness more drug and fireworks smuggling cases through border gates in Tây Ninh.
The provincial Committee for Combating Smuggling, Commercial Fraud and Counterfeit Goods said they had organised campaigns to push back crime along the Cambodia – Việt Nam border.
An annual report issued by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) in March 2019 reported the record seizure of ATS and new psychoactive substances of 116 tonnes in East Asia and Southeast Asia in 2018.
Drug markets in ASEAN countries are switching from heroin to ATS, according to UNDOC’s Global SMART Programme. Việt Nam, in particular, has recognised the rise of meth originating from the Golden Triangle being trafficked from neighbouring countries Cambodia, Laos and China.
The National Committee on AIDS, Drugs and Prostitute Control of Việt Nam was established in 2000 to prevent, combat and control drugs by 2030, with community-based approaches playing an essential role to prevent drugs from being smuggled across the country’s border. — VNS