July 12, 2020 13:37

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Customs sector improves effectiveness of international cooperation on smuggling

19:23 | 05/08/2019

VCN- A series of cases of drugs and wildlife trade violating the Cites Convention have been discovered and dealt withby customs forces recently through cooperation programs with other countries.

customs sector improves effectiveness of international cooperation on smuggling Container of Chinese phone accessories with fraudulent Vietnam origin discovered
customs sector improves effectiveness of international cooperation on smuggling Two containers of imported scrap held
customs sector improves effectiveness of international cooperation on smuggling Shortcomings facing the authorities of Customs
customs sector improves effectiveness of international cooperation on smuggling
8.3 tons of pangolin scales seized in Hai Phong in March had an important contribution from international partners. Photo: T. Binh

Create initiative

A representative of the Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation (General Department of Customs) saidto perform the task of preventing and fighting smuggling, in addition to the efforts of the internal industry and coordination in the country, the international cooperation on exchange of Customs control information has always been considered as one of the most effective information channels for professional operations of customs control. At the same time, this also shows the positive attitude and commitment of Vietnam Customs in its wide participation and international cooperation activities on customs.

With the direction of the leadership of the Ministry of Finance, leaders of the General Department of Customs, the Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation has been actively promoting the effectiveness of information collection through multilateral and bilateral cooperative activities.

In fact, since the beginning of 2019, Vietnam Customs has shown an active and proactive role with a high sense of responsibility in international cooperation on smuggling and customs control.

The first highlight of this initiative for the Vietnamese Customs wassuccessfully coordinating with Chinese Customs, Asia-Pacific Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO AP) of Hai Phong World (WCO), United Nations Agency for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to build the initiative "Common control action on the fight against smuggling and illegal transportation of drugs and precursors in the Greater Mekong Sub-region”, also known as Mekong Dragon. The program has the participation of six Customs agencies: Vietnam, China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Through the "Mekong Dragon" Program, from September 2018 to June 2019, the Customs forces of different countries dealt withmore than 100 drug-related cases. Notably, there wasinformation shared according to the operation mechanism of the project to successfully handlefour large-scale cases.

In addition, Vietnam Customs with the focal point of the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department, has effectively implemented 10 international cooperation programs on regional and global customs control by WCO, RILO AP, and Police Organization. International Crime (INTERPOL) coordinates and shares information related to combating illegal drug trafficking (CA Talyst, DSIN Air / cargo); anti-smuggling of cigarettes (Crocodile project); environmental crimes (Heavenly project, DEMETTER, Lead); drug smuggling (Project Rainfall).

In the framework of cooperation on customs control in ASEAN, the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department is actively participating in the operation of the Customs Compliance and Compliance Working Group (CECWG), sharing experiences with members of intra-ASEAN countries to control, combat smuggling and trade fraud.

Tackling cases

According to the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department, determining the appropriate focus for each partner in sharing customs intelligence, creating a breakthrough in information gathering through information transformation into incidents, transfer, thus, there have been big projects discovered promptly by Vietnam Customs.

As of January 2019, from international intelligence information, Customs forces promptly seized two pieces of luggage with a total weight of 46kg, containing nearly 3,000 cigars and 161 jars. Prohibited goods are transported from Havana (Cuba) in transit via Moscow (Russian Federation) before returning to Tan Son Nhat International Airport (HCMC).

The next case was the seizureof 8.3 tons of pangolin scales in Hai Phong port in March 2019 and 5.3 tons of scales in Ba Ria-Vung Tau in May.

From the arrest of 300 kilograms of narcotics in Ho Chi Minh City (Special Project 218 LP, March 2019), Vietnam Customs supported and coordinated with the Information Division to inform the Philippinesrelated forces to seize 276kg of drugs.

In particular, the specialized project of 500 kg of drugs were successfully seized in Ho Chi Minh City in May 2019, in addition to the efforts of the customs force, the police and domestic relevant units could not fail to mention the significant contribution of international cooperation. Collaborative content, many details and relevant information is still secret. However, there is a shared content that has been revealed by representatives of the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Bureau to reporters. Accordingly, in February 2019, through national cooperation, the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department received information on transnational drug lines operating in China, Vietnam and Taiwan. Based on the information received, and on the functions and tasks assigned, the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department transferred the information to the Customs Department of Ho Chi Minh City for investigation, carrying out the case with the number M918 (the project also relates toChinese criminals, Taiwan was previously established by Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department).

At the same time, the leaders of the General Department of Customs, the leaders of the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department shall direct the units: the Department of Customs Information Processing and Processing - Division 2, the Regional Drug Control and Prevention Team Nam - Team 6 (Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation) and a number of related units participate closely in the investigation.

After the investigation, on May 11, 2019, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, Police Department investigated drug-related crimeC04 (Ministry of Public Security), Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation and some relevant forces were successful in seizing more than 500 kg of ketamine and arresting four Chinese and Taiwanese citizens.

The proactive and positive international cooperation in general, especially in the field of anti-smuggling and customs control with specific results through the past big projects has significantly contributed to enhancing the role and position of Vietnam Customs in the region and the world.

Leaders of the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department said that to promote positive results both in the future and to fulfill the assigned tasks, the unit will continue to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of international cooperation in the field of anti-smuggling.

On the basis of bilateral and annual cooperation channels, the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department receives and handles more than 100 requests (two-way between foreign agencies and Vietnamese Customs and vice versa) proposing to support and serve the investigations against smuggling and customs control.

By THai Binh /Bui Diep