July 17, 2019 17:57

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Challenges in anti-drugs cross HCM City border gate.

10:13 | 24/05/2019

VCN – The case of trading and transporting the largest quantity of Ketamine to a third country for consumption (worth nearly 500 billion VND) has been destroyed by HCM City Customs and Police force with key people in the chain arrested. The current situation of drug trafficking in Ho Chi Minh City is complicated as it poses many challenges to competent forces, including Customs authorities.

challenges in anti drugs cross hcm city border gate 10767
Nearly 500kg of drugs was seized by HCM City Customs Department. Photo: T.H

An iceberg of drugs

Besides the seizure of nearly 500 kg of drugs prepared for export to Taiwan on 11/5, recently, by professional measures, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has detected and prevented many sophisticated cases of drug trafficking viaairmail and express delivery.

On May 8, 2019, by checking 3 packages of gifts sent from Europe to Ho Chi Minh City by post, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department discovered and seized more than 7.4 kg of synthetic drugs which was sophisticatedly hidden insidestuffed animals, in a phonograph, in the side of carton box and in a shoe bag.

According to Mr. Huynh Nam, the leader of the Anti-Drug Enforcement Unit of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, the situation of illegal transport of narcotics from abroad through Ho Chi Minh City is serious and quite complicated.

Through recent seizures, domestic and foreign drug criminals have closely colluded, forming alliances, organizing transnational crimes and operating with sophisticated methods and tricks. Foreign drug criminals are taking advantage of seaports, air routes (including airports, post offices and express delivery) to illegally transport narcotics from abroad into Vietnam, partly for domestic consumption and partly for transshipment to a third country.

According to the assessment of the HCMCity People's Committee, the situation of drug crime in the city has not decreased, still occurring in the two-ways of illegal drug trafficking from foreign countries to the city for consumption ortransshipment to athird country.The number of cases of trafficking, transportation and use of synthetic drugs, psychotropic substances and new types of drugs continues to increase.

There is a serious transnational factor, trading in both heroin and synthetic drugs. The operation method of drug traffickers is more professional, strictly organized into closed lines, regularly changing hiding places and methods of delivery and receiving drugs money have placed many challenges to the competentforces.

challenges in anti drugs cross hcm city border gate 10767
Ecstasy hidden inside gifts was seized by HCM City Customs Department. Photo: T.H

In particular, the sea route is potentially very large, with the sophisticated methods of operationof the subjects, the detection work is facing difficulties. The competent forces needto coordinate closely, especially Customs, Border Defense forceand Coast Guard in order to effectively prevent this type of dangerous crime.

Through violations that were detected in recent years, the drug criminalshave taken advantage of policies of facilitating import and export activities and immigration. In particular, in the implementation of customs procedures, online customs clearance for imported and exported goods, parcels, import-export packages for transporting drugs.Commonly used methods and tricks include hiding drugs inside imported goods and luggage,processing to conceal between edges of cargo packaging, in books, album covers, pictures, food, vacuum cleaners, CD cases and bags, computer hard drives. Byusinga fake ID card to send goods or use service of customs brokers to implement customs procedures for import-export parcels theyavoid responsibility when it discovered.

On the seaport route, criminal organizations target enterprisesthat have never violated the customs law to entrust the export of goods abroad. Accordingly, drugs are camouflaged in containers of production materials (plastic beads, recycled plastic ...) that are exempt from physical inspection (green channel, yellow channel).

Block the supply

The case of trading and transporting of Ketamine with the largest quantity to a third country for consumption (estimated value of nearly 500 billionVND) has been successfully destroyed by Ho Chi Minh City Customs and Police forces and key people in the chain arrested. However, the current situation of drug trafficking is very complicated and has posed many challenges to the customs forces.

According to the Director of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department Dinh Ngoc Thang, the customs force, in the past time, have actively set up many specialized cases and seized tens of cases of illegally transported drugs.

In the future, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department will focus on building a more focused plan, with the identification of key routes and people. Along with that, effectively coordinating with competent forces in and outside the sector.

In particular, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has proposed to the ministries and sector regardingbuildingpolicy mechanism as well as facilitation, sanctions need to apply strong measures to those who taken advantage of the openness for smuggling and transporting prohibited goods. They also made recommendations on supporting equipment and other professional measures to prevent violations.

challenges in anti drugs cross hcm city border gate 10767
Drugs hidden inside stuffed animals were seized by HCM City Customs Department on May 8, 2019. Photo: T.H

In recent years, Ho Chi Minh City Customs force has detected and seized many cases of large-scale drug transportation from the US, Canada and some European countries via air, post and express delivery to Vietnam andthe export of illegal drugs and drug precursors to Australia.

In particular, the illegal import of marijuana and synthetic drugs like MDMA (ecstasy) in the form of non-commercial gifts usingsophisticated tricks is an alarming phenomenon. Only in the beginning of 2019, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has discovered and prevented over 20 cases of illegal import and export of narcotics.

Facingthis situation, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has identified the key roads, goods, organizations and individualsfor warning the border gate units in order to gatherhuman forces for fighting and prevention. The department hassimultaneously established and implemented drastically specialized projects, plans on drug prevention, control and enforce drugs, drug precursors and psychotropic substances in the border areas managed by the Department.

Regarding the struggle against drug transshipment in the area, HCMCity Customs Department determined that in order to achieve efficiency, it is necessary to strengthen coordination with competent forces such as: Police, Border Defense force, Coast Guard.

It is necessary to establish coordination projects for collecting and sharing information in a timely manner between competent forces in the drug routes. In particular,the timely sharing of information from overseas law enforcement authorities aboutdrugs crimeorganizations operating transnationally.

Another important solution is that Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department is reviewing and classifying key enterprises that need to be strictly managed, focusing on the analysis of information of established enterprises that have not operated import-export activities in the long term or operate at a low frequency. Hence they should have strict management and monitoring measures.

By Lê Thu/Thanh Thuy