More than 2,000 packages of smuggled foreign-made cigarettes from Cambodia were detected by the border guard force in An Giang Province last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Công Mạo
HCM CITY — HCM City and southern border provinces are working hard to fight against counterfeit goods, trade fraud and illegal cross-border smuggling as the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday approaches.
The city People’s Committee has issued a plan to prevent smuggling and trade fraud before, during and after the Tết holiday, which falls on February 12. The crackdown will last until February 28.
Local functional forces have been urged to tighten management and inspection as well as strictly handle the trade of prohibited, smuggled and counterfeit goods, a well as illegal sales and transport of overseas products.
Drugs, weapons, illegal firecrackers, unsafe and violent toys and cigarettes will also be strictly monitored.
Typical items for Tết will be closely controlled, including rice, confectionery, soft drinks, instant coffee, milk, alcohol, beer, gasoline, petrol, clothing, cosmetics, electronic products, pharmaceuticals, face masks and medical equipment.
Tax evasion can occur at goods trading locations such as at the estuaries of rivers, seaports, airports, roads, railways, wholesale markets and trade centres.
The city’s border guard force, in collaboration with the Southern Border Guard Soldiers' Department of Drug and Crime Prevention, the naval squadron 28 under the Việt Nam Border Defence Force, and border forces in Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu and Tiền Giang provinces will handle violations at the rivers' estuaries, sea border gates and sea ports.
The city is also calling on businesses and consumers to take part in the fight against smuggling and trade fraud.
Border authorities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces of An Giang, Kiên Giang and Đồng Tháp are making greater efforts to prevent cross-border smuggling, which usually increases during the year-end period.
Smuggled goods are mostly cigarettes and sugar illegally imported into the country through border areas in An Giang Province’s Châu Đốc City.
Cross-border smugglers transport the goods from Cambodia to the provinces during the night, making it difficult for authorised forces to control and handle.
Boats, motorbikes and trucks are used to transport the smuggled goods into the country. The smugglers are usually willing to fight back to escape from authorised forces.
The border area in Kiên Giang Province’s Hà Tiên City has also seen smuggling of goods across the border, usually late at night.
Smugglers usually travel in groups and transport a large amount of smuggled goods, mainly foreign-made cigarettes.
Authorities have discovered hundreds of cases of smuggled cigarettes and other contraband goods, and confiscated tens of thousands of packages of cigarettes.
Fishing boats are also used to illegally transport and sell oil and petrol on the sea in the province.
Hundreds of thousands of litres of oil of unknown origin have been seized by local agencies, which have so far collected billions of đồng of administrative fines.
The An Giang Province’s steering committee for anti-smuggling, trade fraud and fake goods said that functional forces are patrolling border gates, trails and crossings to control the illegal transport of goods across the border.
They are working with agencies to strengthen inspections of the origin of goods, especially smuggled goods such as alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, petrol and cosmetics.
Huỳnh Ngọc Hồ, deputy head of the provincial Market Management Department, said the department is implementing an action plan to strengthen inspections of the quality of goods at markets during the busy Tết season.
“We will coordinate with relevant agencies in the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and trade of fake, banned and low- quality goods. We want to ensure food safety and hygiene for consumers,” he said.
It will also strictly handle violations related to trade of essential goods for Tết.
Đồng Tháp Province has also experienced cross-border smuggling and trade fraud.
During the peak season, authorised forces have enhanced inspections and handling of violations related to products in high demand, such as petrol products, fertilizers, alcohol, beer, sugar, cigarettes and cosmetics, the deputy head of the provincial Market Management Department, Dương Đức Đạt, said.
The department will also crack down on large-scale smuggling rings, and deal with smuggling and trade fraud hotspots in the province. It will also raise public awareness about the need to fight against illegal trade. — VNS