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Sugar and cigarettes smuggling rises in floating season

10:05 | 02/10/2018

VCN - According to Steering Committee 389 of An Giang province, smuggling activity in An Giang border is increasing in the floating season this year. In September, 2018,  the An Giang province’s competent forces arrested nearly 90,000 packs of cigarettes, up 40 % from the previous month; over 53 tons of sugar, up 238% over the previous month.

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"Bustling" on the floating water

According to the assessment of competent forces of An Giang province, the An Giang border is in the peak period of the floating season, and when it rains a lot, river water level rises, trails, shortcuts and fields are flooded, which are favourable conditions for smuggling. Smuggled goods are hidden on large boats and ships that are anchored along the Cambodian-Vietnam borders (in the Cambodian area). Smugglers are just waiting for the opportunity to use high-speed motorboats to cross the floodplains to take goods to gathering places and warehouses, etc. To ensure that smuggling is taking place conveniently, smugglers always assign their teammates to track competent forces (24/24) on both river routes and road routes to notify each other in timely fashion. Especially now, smuggling activities take place very quickly, the transportation from borders to gathering places and cars for consumption takes less than 10 minutes, so if detecting that, the competent forces fails to seize them.

Due to flood, Vinh Nguon ward, Vinh Te commune of Chau Doc city opposite Go Ta Mau (Cambodia) - capital of smuggled goods has become a vast sea. Water vehicles move more easily than ever to illegally transport sugar and cigarettes.

On September 6th, 2018, An Giang Border Guard force ambushed in Ba Bai village, Vinh Te commune (Chau Doc city), adjacent to the floodplains, to arrest a large volume of smuggled sugar. When the case was discovered, groups of porters who were loading the goods on a truck, control plate 66C-081.09, had fled and left more than 60 bags of Thailand sugar with a total weight of over 3 tons. The driver named Pham Minh Tien (born in 1964, living in Chau Doc), confessed that he was hired to transport the above sugar for an owner in Long Xuyen city.

On the morning of September 5th, 2018, the Vinh Nguon Border Guard Station of An Giang province patrolled and investigated in Rach Cay Gao area, Vinh Chanh 3 hamlet, Vinh Nguon ward, Chau Doc city, An Giang province and discovered two perpetrators driving a small special boat from Cambodia to Vietnam at high speed. It was suspected of carrying smuggled cigarettes, so the competent force signalled a request to stop for inspection, the perpetrators threw out the material evidences that were 4,200 packs of foreign cigarettes, and fled to the border for escape. Previously, on August 18th, 2018, the South Special Mission Battalion - Border Command in collaboration with the Vinh Nguon Border Guard Station, ambushed in the Chau Doc River area and discovered two men driving a boat from An Phu to Chau Doc with suspicious signs. The force requested them to stop. Through inspection, they found that the boat carried about 100 bales of used clothing and 20 tons of sugar. Taking advantage of the rain and the night, the perpetrators jumped into the river to escape.

"Bustling" in roads

To assist the transportation of smuggled goods through the flood waters to the inland is the means of passenger cars. On September 9th, 2018, on the National Road 91 in My Duc commune, Chau Phu district, Chau Phu Traffic Police Station discovered that a passenger car control plate 67B – 017.97 of Thien Thien Xuan carrier, driven by Le Thanh Hoai (born in 1978) carried 1390 packs of foreign cigarettes of all kinds. Also in this area, the Traffic Police discovered a passenger car of Thien Thien Xuan carrier, driven by Ha Trong Nghia (born in 1979), carrying 1,100 packs of Hero cigarettes. The status that passenger cars "earn more" by carrying cigarettes now has no way to treat.

By the end of last August, on the National Road N1 in Vinh Phu village, Lac Quoi commune, Tri Ton, An Giang province, the Border Guard force discovered a seven-seat car, control plate 55A-665.78 moving from Tinh Bien district to Tri Ton district with suspicious signs, so the force released a signal to stop the car for inspection. The driver did not comply but increased speed to escape. The working team chased after the car to the Le Tri commune, Tri Ton district where the driver was forced to stop. Through the inspection, the team discovered 8,600 packs of foreign cigarettes. Especially on this car, the driver also hid 4 military vehicle control plates, 8 civil vehicle control plates (fake plates) to cope with the competent forces

It is known that the smugglers usually attach responsibility of compensation to the carrier so when they are arrested, the perpetrators often incite their relatives, women, youth, children to repossess the goods and combat the officers in duty performance. Smugglers are not directly involved in transportation instruction, they only instruct carriers remotely via mobile phones so it is difficult to be arrested. According to the survey of the competent forces, if foreign cigarettes are smuggled into Vietnam, they will bring profits from VND 2,500 to 4,000 per pack; sugar between VND 2,000 and VND 2,500 per kg. As a result, the smuggling of these commodities is always bustling, especially in the floating season.

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Flood water is still at high level, the travelling conditions are still favorable, so smuggled cigarettes and sugar smugglers still have many opportunities to cross the border to "serve" the demand for the end of year. In the coming time, the Steering Committee 389 of An Giang province has directed the competent forces to develop plans and measures to fight and effectively prevent the smuggling and illegal cross-border goods transportation during the flood season; to intensify the exchange of information and coordination in order to arrest and promptly handle smuggling cases in hot-spots and key routes under their management areas; to focus on fighting smuggling of cigarettes, sugar, used clothes, cloth, food, kids toys, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

In September 2018, the competent forces of An Giang province inspected and detected 165 cases of smuggling and illegal cross-border goods transportation, transportation of prohibited goods, up 398% against the previous month with a total value of arrested goods of VND 4.38 billion, up 95.5% over the previous month. In particular, the police force prosecuted two trading cases of prohibited goods as smuggled foreign cigarettes, An Giang Customs Department has criminally prosecuted 2 cases of illegal cross-border goods transportation with evidence of paper scraps.

By Dang Nguyen/ Huyen Trang