September 24, 2018 12:30

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Distance surveillance: A new way of fighting against smuggling

17:04 | 08/01/2018

VCN- Performing bureaus, online monitoring, collecting and processing information before the goods arrive at the border gate; analysis and assessment of routes, commodities, key sectors of risk to conduct inspection and screening in advance is one of the new, uniform and drastic methods of customs forces in the fight against smuggling.

distance surveillance a new way of fighting against smuggling
Distance surveillance: A new way of fighting against smuggling

Process information before arrival

Promoting reform of administrative procedures, modernization, application of risk management, transfer from pre-check to post-inspection to create favorable conditions and step by step raise the self-compliance of the law of import and export enterprises. There are many challenges and disadvantages arising for the Customs sector. One of them is the smuggling and trade frauds that are more sophisticated. By tracking the evolution of smuggling, trade fraud and from various information sources, the customs anti-smuggling forces have seen a tendency to increase the number of smugglers and traffickers that influence national security, social security. Therefore, in the past, apart from supervising publicly and deploying the forces at the border gates and key positions in the customs operation area, the customs sector has implemented synchronous measures, equiping a range of modern equipment to collect, analyze information as well as distance monitoring.

According to preliminary statistics of the General Department of Customs (from 16/12/2016 to 15/11/2017), customs control forces have detected, arrested and handled 13,661 cases of violation of customs law, reduced 5, 44% over the same period in 2016. The value of infringing goods was estimated at VND 721 billion, up 84.2%; State budget revenue was VND 317.2 billion, 101.06% increase compared to the same period of 2016. Customs offices prosecuted 44 cases, increased 15.79%, transferred other agencies proposed to prosecute 48 cases, down 55.56% over the same period of 2016.

The implementation of directing online monitoring in 2017 was directed seriously by the General Department Customs‘s leaders. Accordingly, the leaders of departments of the General Department of Customs have taken over the directives at the General Department of Customs online customs supervision office (located at the General Department of Customs) to detect promptly acts of violating the customs legislation, direct border-gate customs sub-departments in professional operations. The main purpose of surveillance is to combat smuggling and prevent negative acts of customs civil servants .

At the online monitoring office, the activities of most of key ports, seaports and airports can be observed clearly. The modern camera system transmits images to the center in a most vivid and clear manner, and the process of customs clearance and the process of meetings between customs officers and enterprises are recorded. Therefore, it can be said that the supervision of customs procedures process is very tight and professional.

The General Department of Customs not only equipped camera systems in the areas where there is a big volume of export goods, such as Hai Phong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, but also has equipped container scanners. Before import goods arrive at the border gate, the customs forces collect information, process information, analyze the risk assessment, determine the key criteria, and transfer information to screening. Last time, thanks to these analyses, a series of ivory smuggling lines have been discovered and arrested by Customs forces. The information and images of the details of each incident, from camouflage to sophisticated tricks by smugglers are also considered as a main source of information, and are frequently, constantly posted on the publication of the customs paper and e-customs (at This is highly appreciated by the public about the wise and professional working style of civil servants in the process of handling the cases.

Each of the ivory smugglers captured by the Customs forces has brought a special attraction to the public at home and abroad. Because of the unpredictable circumstances of the Customs forces, it has helped to remove important links in transnational crime lines, as well as the number of "terrorist" materials seized.

At the ceremony announcing the campaign "Say no to ivory" that took place in Ho Chi Minh City in 8/2017, wildlife protection organization (WildAid) appreciated the role of Customs of Vietnam in the seizure of illegal ivory at border gates. Vietnam became the first country to save elephants by ending the ivory trade, including the transit of ivory through other countries.

Prosecute many sophisticated smuggling cases

Trafficking of prohibited goods in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) is complicated. When the customs forces discovered many cases in Hai Phong Port and Tien Sa Port (Da Nang), by the end of 2016 and 2017, the number of ivory smuggling cases rose in the Cat Lai port and Ho Chi Minh City. This shows that if the Customs forces strengthen their tight control in this area, they are ready to change their destination to mislead investigations of functional forces. The ivory smugglers have sophisticated and deceptive ways. The ivory is not only camouflaged in hollow logs glued intricately, but also for the first time Customs forces have discovered ivory in the barrels of asphalt.

The smuggling of prohibited goods with many sophisticated tricks has been gradually cleared by Customs force. Recognizing the common origin of these shipments are coming from African countries such as Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya ..., this is also an important clue for customs forces to supervise and plan to pick up when the cargo has just arrived at the port. At each project, the customs forces actively exploited data from the professional information systems, and applied modern equipment to monitor export – import goods and facilities. Through investigation, verification, the truth about the people who are the owners of "ghost enterprise" or even the "ghost director” was soon revealed by customs forces. This result has been proven by dozens of cases being prosecuted, again confirming the position and role of customs forces in this sector.

Just in Cat Lai port, there were 6 cases of ivory transportation uncovered by the Customs and they issued a decision to prosecute the crime of "illegal transport of goods across the border." Typically, on October 4, Customs Department of Saigon Port Zone 1, Department of Customs HCMC issued Decision No 06 / QD-HQKV1 to prosecute the criminal case of the transportation of about 1.3. tons of ivory in asphalt bins. The above shipments belonged to Empire-Group limited liability company,

261-263 Phan Xich Long, 2nd Floor, Ward 3, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City, Transiting from Vietnam to go to Cambodia. The document declared that the whole shipment was asphalt packed in more than 100 drums. Through a suspicion of the goods, there was lots of evidence containing the prohibited goods. Saigon Port Customs Sub-Department in Zone 1 coordinated with the sentinel surveillance team and conducted the screening. Through screening, there were 13 containers with 1.3 tonnes of African ivory found. They were placed under sawdust, the above was gypsum, topped with asphalt.

Sharing with reporters, the Director of the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department (General Department of Customs) Nguyen Phi Hung said that the reform, modernization and application of information technology has fundamentally changed the mode of management to facilitate the business community but still ensure management requirements. The IT system allows continuous data processing, 24/24 hours, reducing the time taken to complete the procedure (the time taken out of the port in minutes), helping businesses to increase efficiency in production, and helping to create prestige and enhance competitiveness. However, it also poses a great requirement for anti-smuggling and anti-smuggling activities to take the initiative in order to determine the new focal point for arrest and handling of violations as well as make sure to serve and facilitate. Specifically, the Customs control forces strengthen the basic investigation, gathering and processing information from public and private sources inside and outside the country related to customs control operations to build a database management information for customs control. As the focal point of the General Department of Customs, the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department will intensify the cooperation and actively participate in the activities of the Asia Regional Liaison Office (RILO AP Office) to exchange information, customs control operations with regional and world customs intelligence organizations, customs authorities and international organizations.

Thanks to the active implementation of these solutions, the customs forces at all levels have prevented, detected, investigated and dealt with acts of smuggling and illegal transportation of fake goods, intellectual property infringement cross border; drug prevention and other acts in violation of customs law. Accordingly, the customs forces have discovered and investigated the handling of administrative violations, prosecuted, investigated many cases, large cases, serious and complex.

By Quang Hung/ Quynh Lan