|Officials of Noi Bai International Airport Customs Branch use sniffer dogs in control work. Photo: N.Linh|
An increase in drug transportation by air
According to the General Department of Customs, the transportation of narcotics by air has tended to increase dramatically in both the number of cases and the volume of exhibits. Subjects used many methods and tricks through concealing and disguising drugs as normally checked baggage, cargo, and even recklessly carrying hand luggage.
The illegal trading and transportation of synthetic drugs tends to be concentrated at Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi), especially flights from the United States and countries of the Union Europe. The total number of violations which are detected and arrested by Customs in the first quarter of 2023 increased by 185.7 % over the same period of last year.
Mr Do Manh Hung, Head of the Customs Branch at Noi Bai International Airport, said that import-export and entry-exit activities via air routes are increasing day by day. According to statistics of Noi Bai International Airport, the number of passengers entering and leaving has reached about 85% compared to the time before the epidemic. There is also the potential for smuggling, trade fraud and drug trafficking.
Tricks for transporting drugs across the country are increasingly sophisticated and complex. Objects often change tricks to cover the eyes of Customs and other authorities. Especially, cross-border drug transport from many countries to Vietnam is increasing.
Goods which are transported by air, to smuggle banned goods, goods on the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), conditional imports and compact goods have high tax rates, great value.
The tricks of the subjects are to take advantage of the customs office’s open policy in separating declarations to undeclare or perform false declarations of numbers, quantity, type, value, code classification and origin of goods, leading to a lack of tax payable. Or objects that transport goods by way of baggage to Vietnam (prohibited goods, conditional imports and goods with high tax rates) but do not declare customs.
Facing the increasing number of detected violations and increasingly sophisticated tricks of the subjects, the leader of Noi Bai International Airport Customs Branch said that the unit regularly held briefings, directing the working teams thoroughly to all officials and employees to strictly implement, ensure job positions to properly perform inspection and review work in the area under the management of the Customs.
In addition, the Sub-Department coordinates with other functional agencies to coordinate in fighting and preventing acts of smuggling, commercial fraud and illegal cross-border transportation of goods.
Especially for the fight against transnational drugs, the Sub-Department has cooperated with C04, C03 (Ministry of Public Security), PC03, PC04 (Hanoi City Police), Aviation Security Agency, Anti-smuggling investigation Department (General Department of Customs) and the General Department of Customs in transmitting and receiving information to coordinate to prevent fraudulent acts. The unit also regularly cooperates and exchanges about methods and tricks of the subjects; jointly check the actual goods, together with screening. The work of coordinating with the arrest of material evidences and drug traffickers is key.
Mr. Do Manh Hung said that due to the complicated nature of drug smuggling and transportation activities, the coordination with functional agencies has brought some initial results, Noi Bai International Airport Customs Branch has worked again with the authorities so that coordination in the coming time would be ensured closely, synchronously, efficiently.
In the past, the prevention of smuggling and commercial fraud; illegal trafficking and transportation of drugs into Vietnam has detected many cases with the transport objects that are passengers and employees of units operating in the airport area. Facing with that fact, Noi Bai international airport border gate Customs Sub-department has sent a written request to the units operating in the airport area to continue to actively coordinate with the Customs authorities in the inspection, control over people, goods, luggage and means of transport at Noi Bai International Airport; thoroughly requesting all ministries and employees to comply with the law on customs, not to abet acts of smuggling, commercial fraud, and illegal drug transportation; at the same time, coordinate with Customs authorities to strengthen propaganda on customs laws to warn people and tourists not to violate.
According to the leader of Noi Bai International Airport Customs Branch, in the first quarter of 2023, the unit detected and handled 50 cases of customs law violations in the area under its management. The unit coordinated and prosecuted a case of illegal currency transportation across the border, and has now transferred the authorities to carry out further investigation steps in accordance with the law.
The Sub-department coordinated with PC04 of Hanoi City Police and C04 of the Ministry of Public Security to seize 240kg of drugs and 5 subjects. Especially in the two days of February 19 and 20, through the struggle, 6kg of cocaine and 105kg of synthetic drugs were seized by foreign subjects and those transported from Poland via luggage to Vietnam. The subject was arrested by the authorities in accordance with the law.