VCN- The trafficking, transportation and storage of drugs continues to take place. The detection and handling of many drugs cases shows that international drug criminals use many tricks to import drugs into Vietnam and export them to other countries. This is a big challenge that requires competent agencies in general and Customs in particular to strengthen domestic and international coordination effectively.
|Customs strengthens prevention of transnational drug crime|
|Customs continue strengthening the work against drug crime|
|Customs are affirming their role in fighting drug crimes|
|Three people and drugs seized by Customs and Police as part of special plan 179H. Photo: Hai Phong Customs Department|
Customs and Police coordinated to handle huge drug cases
Consecutively in monthly and quarterly briefings of the General Department of Vietnam Customs and local customs departments, Director General of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can has warned and requested the entire Customs sector to raise vigilance and responsibilities because criminal lines have sought to transport drugs into Vietnam and from Vietnam to other countries.
Recently, in 2019, the transnational crimes of drug trafficking and illegal transportation from abroad to Vietnam for consumption and shipment to third countries have taken place at all border gates and borders. Vietnam has been identified as a place for drug trafficking and illegal transportation from centers in the "Golden Triangle" and "Crescent" in Asia and South America.
Domestic and foreign drug criminals have closely combined to establish criminal lines and organizations with a reckless nature, methods and tricks. These organizations are equipped with modern means for communication and drugs transportation. They are ready to use weapons to attack competent forces when they are detected or arrested.
Notably, Chinese, Taiwanese and Lao suspects have colluded with domestic citizens to trade and transport drugs across borders through tracks and trails, import, export and transit to hide drugs from Laos, Cambodia and the Americas and Africa into Vietnam.
Facing this situation, the Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Vietnam Customs requested competent forces to strengthen measures to prevent and perform the right functions, tasks and customs control areas.
Besides, in internal efforts, the Customs sector has strengthened coordination with competent domestic and international authorities.
Regarding domestic cooperation, the Customs authorities have cooperated closely with key units such as the Police, Border Guard and Coast Guard. Especially, the coordination between Customs and Police has contributed to handling many huge drug cases.
Typically, on March 20, implementing the special plan 179H chaired by the Investigation Police Department on Drug-related Crime (C04), the Customs forces seized 300kg of crystal methamphetamine in Ho Chi Minh City and relevant perpetrators, and identified a shipment of 276kg of crystal methamphetamine that left Vietnam and provided information to Philippine authorities to seize it.
On May 11, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department and C04 co-chaired and coordinated with Unit 6 (under the General Department of Vietnam Customs) and units under the Ministry of Public Security, Ho Chi Minh City Police and C04 of Binh Duong Police to detected four vacuum packaging presses, 500 kg Ketamine and arrested four perpetrators in Binh Chanh District (Ho Chi Minh City).
On September 18, Hai Phong Customs Enforcement Team under Hai Phong Customs Department coordinated with units under the Ministry of Public Security and the Coast Guard Command to arrest three perpetrators and seize 80 packages of heroin in Nam Dinh. This is the largest drug case sized by Hai Phong Customs.
Actively participated in global anti-drug network
Along with strengthening cooperation with the domestic competent authorities, Vietnam Customs has actively participated in the global anti-drug network.
Vietnam Customs has participated in a series of activities within the framework of international cooperation projects on drug prevention and combat, as well as strengthened international cooperation with other countries' customs.
It coordinates with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Australian Federal Police, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong (China), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, UNODC Representative Office in Hanoi, the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific (RILO/AP) and the Border Liaison Office (BLO) in the fight against drug crimes, illegal trafficking and transportation of drug precursors.
Recently, at the 31st Asia-Pacific Regional Intelligence Conference that took place from 13-15 November in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Vietnam Customs as an initiative Customs authority on behalf of the member Customs authorities presented the results of the Operation Mekong Dragon co-founded and operated by Vietnam Customs and China Customs and participated by six Customs authorities in the Mekong sub-region, including Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam; and Korea Customs participated as an observer, RILO AP and UNODC as coordinators and supporters.
The operation had an official operation phase from September 2018 to March 2019. During this phase, 164 drug arrests were updated to the CENCOMM system with a total of 2,279.71 kg of drugs, including 98 import cases, 18 export cases and six transshipment cases.
Based on the success of Operation Mekong Dragon, the RILO AP launched Operation Mekong Dragon Asia-Pacific to prevent the spread of methamphetamine in Asia-Pacific. The operation was implemented from May 6 to June 16, RILO AP and UNODC coordinated the operation with the participation of 27 members, including 24 customs authorities in the AP, NCB Singapore and Malaysian Police. As a result, 142 cases of drugs and drug precursors were dealt with, including a total of 27 tonnes of drugs.
At the conference, Vietnam Customs also proposed to continue the implementation of Operation Mekong Dragon 2 on a comprehensive scale with four key contents, including sharing information, increasing participation of members, promoting post-arrest analysis working group and considering expanding the scope of the operation.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, in 2018, the Customs coordinated with the Police to handle 244 cases of illegal drugs trafficking, transporting and storing, with 162 perpetrators. The estimated value of infringing goods was VND12 billion and 927 million. Of which, the Customs chaired to arrest 152 cases with 114 perpetrators, the estimated value of infringing goods was VND8 billion and 945 million. The Police chaired to arrest 92 cases with 48 perpetrators the estimated value of infringing goods was VND3 billion and 982 million. Notably, the Customs authority transferred and petitioned the police to prosecute 90 criminal cases.
In the first nine months of 2019, the Customs control force coordinated with the Police force to detect 69 cases of cross-border goods smuggling and illegal transportation, 6 drug cases with 10 perpetrators. The Customs transferred 64 cases to the police for prosecution. The Police chaired and coordinated with the Customs control force to arrest 12 cases of cross-border goods smuggling, illegal transportation with 8 perpetrators, 25 drug cases with 34 perpetrators.
By Nguyen Quoc/Ngoc Loan