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Southwest border: Smuggled sugar still "flows"

09:00 | 11/05/2019

VCN - There are no longer smugglers transporting sugar and cigarettes, driving carelessly and irresponsibly on roads on the southwest border, but they are taking advantage of nights and holidays to transport a small volume of goods through the river crossing from Cambodia to Vietnam in the border area of An Giang and Dong Thap.

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Smuggled sugar is seized by Dong Thap Customs Department. Photo: T.H.

Smuggled sugar is still moving into Vietnam

On the southwest border during the last days of April, the roads seemed to be more active. Along the roads on the border, there were no signs of traffickers smuggling sugar and cigarettes or driving carelessly, but it could happen at any time if functional forces let their guard down. Leading us to the Khanh Binh border gate area, Deputy Director of An Giang Customs Department Nguyen Tan Buu said, due to the anti-smuggling forces of the province strengthening the control of border lines and smuggling, illegal transportation of goods in the first 4 months of 2019 has been reduced. However, smugglers were still taking advantage of nighttime and holidays to transport small amounts of sugar.

Recently, taking advantage of the holidays of April 30 to May 1, some suspects used a small boat to illegally transport sugar from Cambodia to Vietnam, but they were stopped by anti-smuggling forces of Steering Committee 389 of An Giang province. In the early morning of April 30, the Anti-Smuggling working group of Long Binh Border Station in coordination with the Task Force under Drug Prevention and Crime Division of An Giang Border Defenses Force also detected and seized 3 tons of refined sugar packed in 60 bags of unknown origin.

Earlier, on April 29, in the border area of Khanh Binh, Khanh Binh Border Gate Customs Department and anti-smuggling forces of Steering Committee 389 of An Giang province, the working group in An Phu district organized to seize 6.5 tons of smuggled sugar. When setting up an ambush on the border, competent forces detected some suspects carrying white sacks from a motorboat to warehouses of Pham Thi Ly at Group 2, An Khanh hamlet, Khanh An commune. The officers approached to inspect the sacks.

When spotting the functional force, the people who controlled the vehicles escaped to the other side of the river, then fleeing to Cambodia.

By conducting inspections at the warehouse of Pham Thi Ly, the working group detected 130 packs of refined sugar (50kg/pack) with a total weight of 6.5 tons. The packages were labeled with the words "Ngoc Bich sugar processing factory, My An Hung B commune, Lap Vo, Dong Thap ".

According to Steering Committee 389 of An Giang, in the past, after implementing strict controls, smuggling through the border area has decreased markedly. Due to long holidays, some subjects took advantage to smuggle sugar from Cambodia to Vietnam. However, the violations of the suspects have been controlled and detected by competent forces in the area.

In the first 4 months of 2019, the anti-smuggling forces of An Giang province have detected and handled nearly 260 cases of buying and selling banned and smuggled goods, with the total value of infringing goods of over 23 billion VND, falling by over 24% compared to the same period last year. In particular, 47 tons of smuggled refined sugar were seized, an increase of 134% compared to the same period last year.

Hidden in domestic packs

According to the anti-smuggling forces on the southwestern border, although smuggling has decreased, smugglers are using sophisticated methods to transport sugar from Cambodia to Vietnam. In particular, they use domestic sugar packs to contain smuggled sugar. There are always domestic sugar packs and sewing machines at warehouses which store smuggled sugar, so the act of packaging to hide smuggled sugar is very professional. According to the Steering Committee 389 of An Giang, the smuggling and illegal transportation of goods across An Giang border continues, however, the level and scale of the operation has decreased significantly. Particularly, smuggled refined sugar has increased. To transport smuggled sugar into Vietnam, the smugglers gather, change the packs, then use motorboats and motorbikes to transport from the Cambodia and Vietnam.

According to the leader of Khanh Binh border gate Customs, in the border area of An Phu district, An Giang province, there are a number of warehouses and sugar production facilities which store smuggled sugar. Because the border area between the two countries has a river, the suspects have taken advantage to transport smuggled sugar across the border. The seizure of 130 packs of refined sugar on April 29 is a good example. All the packs of sugar had been changed with the label: "Ngoc Bich sugar processing factory, My An Hung B commune, Lap Vo, Dong Thap”.

The transport of illegal sugar on the Dong Thap border line as bad as in An Giang province, but the suspects also replace packs for transport to the domestic market for consumption.

According to officials of the Customs Control Team - Dong Thap Customs Department, although smuggling cases have dropped, smuggled sugar is still a key commodity.

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On April 6, 2019, at the Dien Bien Phu Road in Block 4, An Thanh Ward, Hong Ngu Town, Dong Thap Province, Customs Control Team - Dong Thap Customs Department in coordination with An Thanh Ward Police, Hong Ngu town seized more than 3 tons of smuggled refined sugar. The smuggled sugar was hidden on the sidewalks and on the roadside. Notably, many of these packs were labeled as white sugar of Thailand. Some packages of crystallized sugar were without brands and production countries, some bags had been replaced with Vietnamese packs and labels.

Determining the smuggling on the border line that is decreasing, border gate customs units are implementing plans, coordinating with forces in the area to strictly control and effectively prevent violations.

By Le Thu/ Kieu Oanh