June 06, 2020 22:02

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Smuggled cigarettes increase at Southwest border area in the pandemic

10:20 | 03/05/2020

VCN – Forces at the southwest border area are still performing dual tasks which are pandemic prevention and anti-smuggling and illegal transport of goods across border, especially smuggled cigarettes.

smuggled cigarettes increase at southwest border area in the pandemic
Ha Tien Border Defence and Customs forces (Kien Giang) supervised border area at anti-pandemic and anti-smuggling post.

According to Steering Committee 389 of localities, due to applying social distancing, vehicles were restricted to circulate, tracks and opening roads were blocked, price of foreign cigarettes increased so many people snuck out through border areas. The “hot” areas of smuggled cigarettes were Tay Ninh, Long An, An Giang and Kien Giang provinces.

The crosssector posts of competent forces also discovered many cases of smuggling besides pandemic prevention. Typically, on April 2nd, at an anti-pandemic field station at the border near milestone 177(2), Trang Bang district, Tay Ninh province, forces coordinated to patrol and discovered a group of people transporting goods through rice fields from Cambodia to Vietnam so they requested to conduct inspections. This group of people took advantage of midnight to flee to Cambodia and left behind 16 sacks with 9,500 packs of foreign cigarettes such as Jet and Hero.

On April 4, a team of Steering Committee of 389 in Ben Cau district, Tay Ninh arrested two cases of transporting smuggled cigarettes by motorbike with the exhibits 2,600 packages of foreign cigarettes. The people left their cars and crossed the border when they were detected.

In the last days of March, the Moc Bai Border Post also seized many cases of illegal transport of cigarettes from Cambodia to Vietnam. At Moc Bai border gate area, besides coordination of competent forces for Covid-19 prevention, Customs forces have also strictly controlled illegal transportation goods through border gates. In mid-March, at the entry gate of the Integrated Control Station of Moc Bai, Moc Bai Customs Branch detected a female passenger hiding 500 packages of foreign cigarettes originating from China when crossing the border gate. The branch also discovered a person hiding 185 bottles of electronic cigarette oil, made in the US, without implementing customs clearance at the border.

At the Long An border, the area bordering Tay Ninh borderline and adjacent to the entre of smuggled cigarettes consumption, smuggling activities have not reduced at this time. Most of the cases were seized at midnight and early in the morning, so competent forces struggled to performed the missions of anti-pandemic and anti-smuggling.

In April, forces of Long An province seized more than 175,000 packs of cigarettes, bringing the total number of smuggled cigarettes seized in the area since the beginning of the year to more than 776,000 packs.

On April 3, a working group of 10 people of the Binh Hiep international border post worked with the Anti-drug and Crime Prevention Task Force of the Long An Border Defence force and ambushed secretly in the milestone 213 area of Go Tranh hamlet, Binh Tan commune, Kien Tuong town and found a group of about five to seven people carrying goods from Cambodia across the border into Vietnam. The force asked those people to stop for inspection, but they fled to Cambodia, leaving 3,790 packs of foreign cigarettes of all kinds. Previously, at midnight on April 1st, My Quy Tay Border Post (Duc Hue District) coordinated the working group of Anti-Drug and Criminal Prevention of Border Defence force of Long An Province to conduct patrols and ambushes in the hamlet No.4 area, My Quy Tay commune, Duc Hue district, Long An province, and arrested Le Dang Phuong (born in 1974, living in Loc Hung commune, Trang Bang district, Tay Ninh province) for hiding and transporting 1,400 packs of smuggled cigarettes in a KIA car. Phuong claimed he was hired to transport the above goods for an unknown person and after successful delivery, he would be paid VND 500,000.

smuggled cigarettes increase at southwest border area in the pandemic
Border post of Binh Hiep Border Gate (Long An) seized smuggled cigarettes on April 3rd.

In the border areas of An Giang and Kien Giang, with a maze of canals, rice fields and many openings and trails, so smugglers have operated incessantly. The smugglers are very sophisticated when taking advantage of dark night and midnight to camouflage as fishing boats to escape competent forces’ eyes to smuggle cigarettes from Cambodia for domestic consumption. In particular, only in April, An Giang and Kien Giang provinces seized more than 100,000 packs of smuggled foreign cigarettes, of that An Giang was more than 65,000 packs and Kien Giang was more than 40,000 packs.

On April 2, the Customs Enforcement Unit (An Giang Customs Department) coordinated with the Criminal investigation Police Division on corruption, economic and smuggling (An Giang Police) to patrol and ambush in the area of ​​Trung Bac Hung hamlet (Nhon Hung and Tinh Bien communes). They found a motorboat with suspicious signs, so the competent force requested inspection and discovered smuggled cigarettes hidden in the hold of that motorboat. A total of 15,000 packs of smuggled foreign cigarettes were found, including 2,500 packs branded Jet and 12,500 packs branded Hero. At the time of inspection, no one claimed to own the above goods amd the working group made a record of holding in custody for means of transport and exhibits for investigation.

On April 13, the Ha Tien border post arrested Nguyen Thanh Hoa (was born in 2000) when he was carrying 2,500 packs of cigarettes branded Jet and Hero in the belt border area of Xa Xia quarter, My Duc ward. Hoa left behind the goods and fled into the forest, but he was arrested by border defence force and police. The Ha Tien Border Defence force made a record of holding in custody for the above cigarettes and brought Hoa to an isolation area for isolating for 14 days, after that the competent force will continue to investigate and handle in accordance with regulations. Since the beginning of April until now, Ha Tien Border Defence force has cooperated with other forces to arrest five cases of transporting cigarettes from Cambodia to the area, seized 14,500 packs, arrested three subjects, prosecuted one subject and extradited one subject to Cambodia.

According to the Steering Committee of 389 of localities at Southwest border, the situation of smuggled cigarettes in the border areas was forecast to remain complex in the near future. The reason was due to high demand for consumption, different levels of price were high due to anti-pandemic control measures so smugglers would take advantage of every opportunity to transport cigarettes across the border and deliver inland for domestic consumption. Therefore, anti-pandemic and anti-smuggling missions of competent forces would be even more strenuous.

By Đăng Nguyên/Thanh Thuy