|Smuggled Covid-19 treatment medicines were seized by the Northern Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit (Unit 1, Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department, General Department of Vietnam Customs) in collaboration with Hanoi Express Customs Branch in September 2021. Photo: T.Bình.|
Prosecuting 25 cases
Notably, the customs authority has issued decisions on prosecuting 25 cases, handing over 102 cases to other agencies for prosecution.
With the determination of “taking the initiative in preventing smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeiting”, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has closely followed the direction of the Government, National Steering Committee 389, and the Ministry of Finance, implement the assigned tasks.
Along with continuing to facilitate businesses, from the first days of 2021, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has issued many documents directing and warning provincial and municipal customs departments, guiding the implementation of customs control in the whole sector in general and Covid-19 pandemic prevention in particular.
The key issues are as follows: warning about a number of methods and tricks of illegally transporting minerals across the border by smugglers; warning about methods and tricks and providing guidance on anti-smuggling of counterfeit goods and protection of intellectual property rights; strengthening inspection, supervision and control of sturgeon imported from China; strengthen the management, promptly detect and handle enterprises importing agricultural products in the form of importing raw materials for export production.
Regarding drug prevention and control, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the situation of illegal transport of drugs across the border to Vietnam and transshipment to a third country for consumption still has potential complications.
Notably, the subjects changed their activities to air routes and express delivery and hid a large number of drugs in import and export goods with sophisticated methods (in medicines, milk, dietary supplements, etc; or processing and hiding between the walls of the goods’ packaging, in loudspeakers, machinery and equipment).
The General Department of Vietnam Customs has coordinated with competent forces to successfully close two major projects including: Special project on April 9, 2021 chaired by Hanoi Customs Department, in coordination with professional units of the Ministry of Public Security inspected many packages sent from the Netherlands and Germany to Hanoi via air showing suspicious signs. As a result, 16 suspects were arrested and 127.5kg of synthetic drugs were seized.
The second is a special case on May 19, 2021, established by the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department and the Drug-related Crime Investigation Police Department (C04, Ministry of Public Security) and coordinated with the Ho Chi Minh City Police to arrest five suspects, seized about 280.85kg of Ketamine which was hidden in electric motors and styrofoam containers containing frozen pig stomachs and intestines to be transported to China for consumption.
In addition, the Customs sector handled many violations related to goods temporarily imported and re-exported, deposited into bonded warehouses; a number of cases of smuggling medical supplies for pandemic prevention and treatment of Covid-19.
Strengthening anti-smuggling during the Lunar New Year
To improve capacity and efficiency in the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and illegal transport of goods across borders; successfully implementing customs control tasks in the future, especially in the peak time of anti-smuggling before, during and after the Lunar New Year in 2022, the Customs sector will focus on carrying out a number of key tasks such as:
Firstly, closely following the viewpoints of the Party, State, Government, Prime Minister, National Steering Committee 389, Steering Committee 138 of the Government, leaders of the Ministry of Finance on anti-smuggling, illegal transport of goods across borders, trade fraud and counterfeit goods, thereby, developing control and prevention plans that are close to the actual situation for each locality.
Secondly, continue to build and perfect the system of legal documents, ensure a full legal basis to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state management of customs in general and anti-smuggling, trade fraud, counterfeit goods, and illegal transport of goods across borders in particular.
Thirdly, strengthening the work of information collection, grasping the situation in key areas; strengthening consulting and direction work; organizing human resources to fight smuggling, production, transportation, trading in banned goods, illegal transportation of goods and currency across borders, trade fraud and counterfeit goods.
Fourthly, step up communication and dissemination of policies and laws, both in breadth and depth on the dangers of smuggling, illegal transport of goods across borders, trade fraud and counterfeit goods so that all citizens do not participate, do not abet, do not cover, and do not turn a blind eye to this activity.
In particular, the period before, during and after the Lunar New Year is usually the peak time when smuggling activities, trade fraud and counterfeit goods increase again. Therefore, the General Department of Vietnam Customs directed units throughout the sector to synchronously and drastically deploy the Peak Plan on combating smuggling, trade fraud, counterfeit goods, and illegal transport of goods across borders before, during and after the Lunar New Year 2022.
Accordingly, focusing on strengthening patrol and control in order to promptly detect, prevent and handle people who smuggle and illegally transport goods across the border, especially the group of banned items (drugs, firecrackers), goods affecting security and order, social safety, counterfeit goods, poor quality goods, essential consumer goods during the Lunar New Year such as cigarettes, alcohol, beer, confectionery, fruit, food, livestock and poultry.