November 12, 2019 18:49

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Loopholes in management of 'laughing gas'

10:52 | 09/11/2019

VCN - The gas pumped into the ball is nitrogen monoxide (N20), which is used in industry. However, recently, N20 has been used to pump into balloons, and young people called the balloons funkyballs to inhale for the purpose of unhealthy entertainment. Through inspection, management policy for this item is still loose.  

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The rampant use of funkyballs has been repeatedly handled and warned. People who inhale funkyballs can hallucinate, even die. Recently, forces have discovered and handled violations related to trading and transportation of N20 gas. Most recently, Hai Phong Customs Department signed a decision to prosecute a criminal case of smuggling at Hai Phong port involving a company importing the laughing gas (N20). Although declaring to import more than 6.7 tonnes of N20 gas, Hoa Viet Chemical Trading Joint Stock Company (located in Hanoi) imported more than 13 tonnes.

Also in September, HCMC Public Security seized hundreds of laughing gas (N20) cylinders. Specifically, HCMC Public Security said that on September 23, when patrolling a house at 273 Pham Ngu Lao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, the patrol unit under the public security agency of District 1 discovered Nguyen Chi Thanh (born in 1989, residing in Tay Ninh province) and Le Anh Son (born in 1989, residing in Ha Tinh province) transporting 12 N20 cylinders without vouchers on a truck (license plate 52T-8212). At Pham Ngu Lao Ward’s Police Agency, Thanh and Son confessed to transporting the above gas cylinders for Saigon Air LiQuiDe Co., Ltd. (address: 66/4 Thoi An 11 Street, Thoi An Ward, District 12). District 1 public security inspected the warehouse of Saigon Air LiQuiDe Co., Ltd. and seized 210 metal containers containing N20 gas, three boxes of documents, three CPUs and one laptop.

In May 2019, Market Surveillance Team 7 under Quang Binh Market Surveillance Department conducted inspection of a truck with license plate 43C-043.82, driven by an individual (residing in Huong Binh commune, Huong Khe district, Ha Tinh province) from North South. Through inspection, the force found 59 metal cylinders containing gas (suspected as nitrogen oxide N20 - laughing gas), weighing 495kg, without labels, origin and invoices or documents proving the legality of the goods.

Although the harmful effects of N20 gas have been warned regularly, the management policy of this item is still loose. According to the General Department of Customs, N20 gas is a sensitive product that needs appropriate management.

According to the Government's Decree 113/2017 / ND-CP, nitrogen monoxide (chemical formula N20), HS code 28112990 is the No. 120 in Annex II of the List of chemicals restricted from production, business in industry; and it is the No. 426 in Annex V of the List of chemicals subject to declaration promulgated together with Decree 113/2017 / ND-CP. Organisations and individuals may only produce and trade (including export and import activities according to Clause 2, Article 3 of this Decree) chemicals restricted from production and trading in the industrial field (including N20 nitrogen monoxide) upon being licensed by the competent agency for production and trade of these chemicals.

The General Department of Customs said on December 8, 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued an Official Letter 1372 / HC-VP guiding the implementation of Decree 113/2017 / ND-CP, which states: “The Decree does not provide that certificate of eligibility for production and trade of chemicals subject to conditional business; permit for production and trade of chemicals restricted from production and business etc are conditions for customs clearance. Organisations and individuals are not required to present these documents upon customs procedures”.

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However, the General Department of Customs said N20 gas is a sensitive product that can both be used for industrial production and can be used for the wrong purpose as "laughing gas". Therefore, the General Department of Customs proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade study measures to strictly control the import and trade of this item to meet the new situation. For example, requesting organisations and individuals, when importing this item must submit permits for production and business of chemicals restricted from production and trade to the customs office for customs clearance

By N. Linh/ Huyen Trang