VCN – On May 11, 2023, at the Headquarters of the Government Office, Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang, Head of the National Steering Committee 389 chaired the meeting of the first quarter of 2023 and summarized the Peak Plan on the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeiting before, during and after the Lunar New Year of 2023. One of the most important contents at the meeting is the surge in drug-related crime on the border.
|Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang, Head of the National Steering Committee 389 delivered a speech at the meeting. Photo: Quang Hung
According to the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee 389, in the first quarter, smuggling and illegal transportation of goods across the border decreased significantly.
However, on the international air and postal routes, domestic and foreign smugglers have linked and colluded into rings for the trafficking of synthetic drugs, weapons, etc. Notably, in the first quarter of 2023, drug trafficking by air increased in both the number of cases and the value of infringing goods. Drug smuggling tends to increase on flights from Europe and the United States through Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat international airports to Vietnam.
Agreeing with the above assessment, Director General of Customs Nguyen Van Can said that in the first four months of 2023, the Customs units at all levels handled more than 4,000 cases. In particular, drug-related crimes via air and road routes rose in both scale and quantity, especially since the tricks are more sophisticated. Only from the beginning of the year to May 10, 2023, the Customs seized over 500 kg of drugs of all kinds and made nearly 60 arrests.
“Following the direction of the leaders of the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Finance, the Customs coordinated with the Police to not only seize the infringing goods, but also arrested suspects in many localities. For example, in a recent drug project busted by Hanoi Customs, the suspect receiving drugs from a foreigner sent by courier brings weapons,” said Director General Nguyen Van.
Deputy Commander of the Border Guard Nguyen Van Thien said that, for drug crimes alone, in 2020, the Border Guard coordinated with other authorities to seize nearly three tons; in 2021 nearly 1.7 tons and in 2022 nearly 1.2 tons. The Border Guard, Customs and Police have worked together to closely control the trading and transportation of drugs across the border.
Nguyen Van Thien added that drug trafficking activities on the northern border have decreased because China has built a hard fence to prevent the pandemic and control illegal entry and exit. However, along the Vietnam-Cambodia border, this activity is still increasing across the border of Long An and Dong Thap provinces. The fight against special drug projects recorded positive effects from the coordination among the authorities.
Besides the air route, post or road border route, drug-related crimes at sea are also complicated, especially in the central sea region, the smugglers take advantage of Vietnam’s waters to transship drugs to other countries.
Mr. Vu Trung Kien, Deputy Commander of the Coast Guard said: “The smugglers hire people to pack goods, then transact via social networks, use offshore fishing boats (foreign ships do not have national flags, do not turn on the tracking device) to deliver drugs at the designated areas, causing many difficulties for the State authorities. The smugglers are ready to drop the drugs when they are chased and arrested by the authorities.”
Proposing many solutions
Director General of the General Department of Customs Nguyen Van Can suggested that airlines and carriers need to exchange information about goods, passengers and luggage in advance to State authorities to classify, evaluate, and improve the effectiveness of drug control and prevention.
On the road border route, the traffickers and smugglers take advantage of the transit and border transfer in the Southwest and Central regions where there is a lack of checkpoints, causing difficulties for State authorities to arrange officers and equip inspection and supervision facilities. Therefore, it is recommended that these provinces need to arrange checkpoints at border gates to facilitate customs clearance as well as control smuggling. On the other hand, because it is difficult to arrange permanent staff to manage in the area of trails and openings, it is recommended not to allow vehicles to transport goods through trails and openings to restrict smuggling and trade fraud activities.
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Mr. Vu Trung Kien proposed that the authorities must maintain an information exchange mechanism to create connections between areas. In addition, the authorities need to strengthen communication on the struggle to contribute to deterrence and education.
By Quang Hung/ Huyen Trang