VCN- In the last days of August and early September, 2016, a Customs Newspaper reporter went to Lang Son border to verify the information submitted by readers of the newspaper on Customs hotline: "Smuggling at Lang Son border occurs openly". And after the Customs Newspaper reporter investigated, they confirmed that the above information was completely accurate, with various smuggling activities on trails and crossings.
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|Porters transport illicit goods at Lo Bon. Photo: Hong Nu.|
Dong Dang town center has many trails and crossings on the mountain, just a few minutes by motorbike to Coc Nam sub-border gate, Tan Thanh border gate, Huu Nghi border gate and Dong Dang station. These are paths created by "porters" carrying contraband goods, transporting through mountains and gathering in alleys or minor villages.
Before deciding to penetrate “hot spots” of smuggling in Lang Son, the Customs Newspaper reporter listened to warnings from locals, such as: Do not go into smuggling areas, watch the smuggling activities from a long distance. Because, "porters" here are so aggressive that they may threaten or attack strangers. Thus, the reporter sneaked into Point 5 and Point 6 to observe smuggling activities in Coc Nam - a hot spot for smuggling in Lang Son province and Dong Dang town. At 9 am, army porters prepared parachute cord and other equipment to go across the China border for transporting goods illegally. Only 30 minutes later, the first packages were transported by these porters to Vietnam. Every 30 minutes, there were 60 packages, estimated to weigh 200kg, loaded onto trucks by the porters.
Then, the reporter moved to Nem Waterfall - a place always guarded carefully. There, the reporter disguised herself as an owner of these goods and it took her almost 1 hour to enter the center of the smuggling area.
At the smuggling center, the reporter saw solid steel ladders. The "porters" were crowded like ants carrying contraband goods on the solid ladders across the border. Then, in order to avoid detection, the reporter tried to sneak into a hiding place. The Customs Newspaper reporter could clearly see the smuggling activities in action, but why don’t local authorities and other functional forces see these ladders she wondered, or do they deliberately ignore the situation and create conditions for this activity to continue?
On the main road, the Customs reporter still saw motorcycles loaded with goods running “like a wind" and then disappearing into the alley. And again she wondered why the police traffic force did not stop these bulky vehicles transporting illicit goods at high speed?
The same illegal activities of transporting goods also take place in Lo Bon trail. Only 500 metres from the headquarters of Tan Thanh border gate, each group of porters was free to transport illicit goods without the surveillance or intervention of functional forces.
Speaking with the Customs Newspaper reporter, many Customs officers affirmed that the prevention of smuggling was one of the most important political tasks. But the reality is far from the theory. Actually, there are many borders, trails and crossings where activities of functional forces are limited. In addition, Customs authorities have to arrange forces to carry out the procedures for export and import goods. Meanwhile, many crossings in the province are not under Customs control in accordance with Decree 01/2015 / ND-CP regulating the geographical areas of Customs operation for prevention of smuggling and illegally transporting goods across borders such as Nem Waterfall; Point 05, Point 06, Song Giap, and Khanh Khe, etc. Therefore, it is very difficult for Customs forces to control.
Besides, according to Decision No. 52/2015 / QD-TTg on the management of border trade with other countries: Each border resident trading specified in Article 11 of this Decision shall be exempt from import duty and other taxes (if any) for a value not exceeding 2 million vnd per day and no more than 4 times per month according to the list of goods issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. This is a big loophole for contraband traffickers to take advantage and transport illegal goods.
In reality, most items transported by porters are counterfeit goods. Therefore, they cannot import formally. Moreover, owners of illegal goods tend to choose border residents for transporting with 100 to 200 parcels per day worth several hundred million vnd. Although functional authorities realize these activities are occurring they find it difficult to handle.
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According to the Steering Committee 389 of Lang Son Province, the smuggling and transporting of illicit goods and trade fraud in the first 7 months of the year were very complex and sophisticated, causing losses to the State budget. Statistics showed that in the first 7 months of 2016, the functional forces of Steering Committee 389 of Lang Son Province handled 2,153 cases of smuggling and trade fraud. However, this was not an accurate figure because the actual situations were much more complicated than authorities anticipated.
By Dao Le/ Hoang Anh