Hitting smuggling lines


Market Sureillance and Police force coordinates to inspect a warehouse containing 20 tons of fake perfume and comestics in July 2022. Photo: S.T
Market Surveillance and Police force coordinate to inspect a warehouse containing 20 tons of fake perfume and comestics in July 2022. Photo: S.T

Change the operation method

According to Director General of Market Surveillance Tran Huu Linh, after the Covid-19 pandemic was brought under control, smuggling activities, trade fraud and counterfeit goods increased again. A large number of goods in stock and stored in warehouses from 2021 include many types of expired goods, erased to “changed” to be put back into the market.

Illegally transporting goods and counterfeit goods by the “traditional” method on the northern border such as carrying small items through trails, opening paths, and exchanging border residents has decreased sharply. However, subjects of smuggling and trade fraud switched to public activities and have wriggled to evade the patrol and control of the competent forces. The competent forces are facing significant challenges when the subjects take advantage of the establishment and management of businesses, signing trade contracts, etc., to commit trade fraud on a large scale.

“Through the struggle, the market surveillance force noticed the emergence of smugglers hiring people to set up businesses, sign contracts, and document goods to deal ‘directly’ with the competent forces. Therefore, in order to fight, it is required that the competent forces need to strengthen their professional work, inspection and control. For example, in Ho Chi Minh City, the market surveillance force inspected and handled 20 containers containing more than 40 tons of used clothes,” Mr. Tran Huu Linh said.

Regarding the fight against violations through e-commerce activities, due to the restriction of contact during the pandemic, this activity tended has developed more and more strongly.

According to Mr. Tran Huu Linh, currently, organizations and individuals take advantage of e-commerce by using many different methods and tricks. Specifically, selling ads, posting information, and promoting on social networking platforms (Facebook, Zalo, Tiktok), most of the goods for sale are infringing on intellectual property rights, are counterfeit goods and are low quality. Infringing goods are quite diverse, such as equipment, medical supplies, pharmaceutical materials, frozen food, used electronic goods, cigarettes, sugar, etc.

In May 2022, the market surveillance force and Thanh Hoa Police coordinated to destroy four warehouses. Through the search, the goods were mainly blankets, pillows, clothes, etc., which were sold by the subjects on social networks. Recently, the Market surveillance force and Bac Ninh Police coordinated to inspect and seize more than 20 tons of perfumes and cosmetics, with nearly 80,000 products of famous brands (Dior, Chanel, etc.) for sale on social networks. However, through the confirmation of the right holder, all of the above goods are fake.

Agreeing with the above opinion, Deputy Director of the Police Department for Investigation of Crimes on Corruption, Economy and Smuggling (C03, Ministry of Public Security) Vu Nhu Ha said that through the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods, the subjects converted from manual methods to public ones and organized activities, businesses impersonating to transport goods through the route of paying full tax, instead of lumpsum routes, opening paths and trails.

Currently, the infringing items that the subjects focus on illegally trading and transporting are mainly goods with great fluctuations in the domestic and foreign markets, such as petroleum, sugar, and minerals. Trade fraud through taking advantage of e-commerce is an inevitable trend, along with the development of the digital economy. Therefore, competent forces must identify and tackle this form of fraud.

Coordinating to destroy the lines

Mr. Vu Nhu Ha also forecasted that, as a rule, the demand for goods at the end of the year will increase, leading to more smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods. On the other hand, when the Covid-19 pandemic is basically under control, air freight has skyrocketed and smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods are forecasted to remain potentially complicated. In addition, in online trading activities, the forces not only struggle with violations related to counterfeit and low-quality goods but also need to pay attention to other violations such as tax evasion and fraud.

At this point, the competent forces, together with the Ministry of Public Security, need to focus on fighting big smuggling lines to prevent and thoroughly handle smuggling lines, groups and illegal transport of goods across the border.

As for the market surveillance force, according to Mr. Tran Huu Linh, in the future, the market surveillance force will continue to monitor petroleum products, ensuring the supply of gasoline for the people while at the same time, strengthening professional measures, grasping the situation in prominent areas, key areas (sugar, fertilizer, petrol), especially fake products for sale on e-commerce or social networks; and coordinate with competent forces in the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods.


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