Border guards in An Giang Province prevent pig smuggling from Cambodia.
— VNS File Photo
HCM CITY — With pork prices rising relentlessly, pigs are being smuggled over the border from neighbouring countries into Việt Nam.
The meat now sells for around VNĐ100,000 (US$4) per kilogramme.
According to the An Giang Province Border Guard, in the first five months of this year it has helped prevent six cases of pig smuggling and seized more than six tonnes of smuggled pork.
A spokesman said the incidence of smuggling has increased recently.
He said smugglers bring pigs to the Tiền and Hậu rivers from neighbouring countries and use small boats to fetch them to local markets at night under the cover of darkness.
If authorities find and pursue them, the smugglers flee, leaving all their belongings behind, he said.
In the last three weeks of May, border guards in An Giang Province stopped three cases of smuggling and seized nearly 50 pigs weighing nearly three tonnes, he said.
At 2.30am on May 30, soldiers from the Phú Hữu Border Guard Station in An Giang’s An Phú District found a man in a small boat in Canal No 5 in a local commune.
When challenged by the troops, the man jumped into the canal and swam away into Cambodia, leaving behind the junk and 12 pigs.
Authorities in other border provinces like Long An and Đồng Tháp have also recently stopped pig smuggling from Cambodia.
On March 14, environmental police officers from the Ministry of Public Security came across smugglers in Long An Province’s Vĩnh Hưng District and seized more than 100 pigs weighing more than 10 tonnes.
They had found the pigs some five kilometres inside the border in lorries. Their drivers said they had been hired over phone to transport the pigs and did not know who their owners were.
Pigs smuggled to central markets
A source from the Lao Bảo Border Guard Station in the central province of Quảng Trị revealed that on May 21 soldiers had spotted two smugglers bringing pigs in from Laos.
The smugglers escaped to Laos, leaving behind 14 pigs on a small boat.
It was the fifth time the soldiers had accosted smugglers and in all seized nearly 100 pigs worth hundreds of millions of đồng.
According to relevant agencies in Quảng Trị Province, the water level in the Sê Pôn River is now lower than normal, enabling smugglers to transport pigs from Savanakhet Province in Laos. Traders also buy the pigs in Thailand.
Once the animals arrive in Việt Nam, they are loaded on lorries and transported to markets.
Pigs on the hoof sell for VNĐ50,000-VNĐ60,000 per kilogramme in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, but VNĐ100,000 now in Việt Nam, offering windfall profits to smugglers.
According to the People’s Committee of Hướng Hóa District, since early May hundreds of pigs have been smuggled into Việt Nam bypassing veterinary and quarantine requirements.
Authorities warned this posed a risk of spreading African swine fever and threatened food safety.
Since the last week of March, the Quảng Trĩ Province administration has required authorities to prevent the smuggling of pigs across the border, but the situation has not improved. — VNS.