January 20, 2020 23:16

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The ‘feat of arms’ of Hai Phong Customs Department in the beginning of the year

14:37 | 18/02/2019

VCN – In the early days of the year 2019, Hai Phong Customs Department continuously discovering and seizing cases of illegal transportations of large quantities of ivory and pangolin scales.

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Hundreds of ivory were discovered in the incident on 25/1.

In the days close to Lunar New Year Ky Hoi 2019, when everybody was rushing to prepare for Tet, the customs officials of Hai Phong Customs not only performed their duty, but also closely supervised some suspected containers originating from Africa that had already arrived Hai Phong port. Through grasping information, goods were declared as Doussie, but with Hai Phong Customs using professional measures, they detected many suspicious signs concerning this timber shipment.

Leader of Risk Management Division (Hai Phong Customs Department) shared that: On 22/1/2019, the first container opened declaration at Dinh Vu port Customs Branch (Hai Phong Customs Department). The importer was VIC Thanh Binh Import Export Co., Ltd., (address: Lien Hong ward, Dan Phuong District, Hanoi). Goods were registered as Doussie. The container departed from Apapa port (Nigeria, Africa) in 4/12/2018, and arrived at Lach Huyen port (Hai Phong province) in 18/1/2019.

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The shipment was automatically redistributed to red channel by the Customs Clearance System (to conduct physical inspection through container screening machines). On January 24, the Risk Management Division in coordination with Dinh Vu Port Customs Branch brought the shipment to screening at the fixed container screening center and detected suspicious signs.

“Through analysis of screening images, we have seen many unusual signs and a great possibility of it containing prohibited goods. However, due to it being the end of the working day the sky was dark, and in order to avoid to “pull a vine and shake the woods”, we decided not to immediately start the search, and store the container right in the screening house to closely monitor for ensuring safety ”- leaders of Risk Management Division shared.

On the morning of 25/1, at the Center for fixed container screening center, the Import and Export Cargo Inspection Team with the container scanner (Risk Management Division, Hai Phong Customs Department), cooperated with Dinh Vu Port Customs Branch and opened the container for conducting a physical inspection of the shipment. They discovered a large quantity of prohibited goods as mentioned above.

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Wooden parcels containing ivory, pangolin scales were placed at the end of container

Present at the scene, Customs newspaper reporters found that the shipment of ivory and pangolin scales was packed in a 20-feet container. When opening the seal, the outer end of the container was lined with two layers of wood with large logs of average length from about 1.7 to 2.5 meters. After 2 layers of wood, at the end of the container there are 6 wooden crates tightly wrapped with large chains, the wooden crates were hiding the contained prohibited goods.

Through physical inspection inside each wooden crate, Customs forces discovered a lot of pangolin scales, and also, 5 wooden crates contained ivory. As a result of the inspection, the total weight of infringing goods discovered and seized by Hai Phong Customs in this case was up to more than 500 kg of ivory and more than 1.5 tons of pangolin scales.

Next, on 30/1, the Customs Enforcement Team conducted an inspection of a container hiding ivory and pangolin scales that were also camouflaged in a shipment of wood imported from Africa. The shipment was transported from Apapa port (Nigeria, Africa) in transit via Singapore and transported to Lach Huyen port (Hai Phong). The final destination port was VIP Green port (Hai Phong province). Through the initial investigation (at VIP Green port), Customs forces seized more than 100 kg of ivory and more than 1 ton of pangolin scales.

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Large numbers of pangolin scales were discovered in the incident on 25/1.

Notably, the consignee shown on the bill of lading was also VIC Thanh Binh Import Export Co., Ltd. However, this shipment had not opened declaration yet.

Dr. Dang Tat The- Head of the Department of Molecular Systematics and Conservation Genetics (Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology) said that the ivory, pangolin scales that were discovered and seized by Hai Phong Customs is in Appendix I - Circular 04/2017/TT-BNNPTNT of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, promulgating the list of wild animals and plants stipulated in the appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

"Appendix I prescribes the list of wild animal and plant species threatened with extinction, prohibits export, import, re-export, import from the sea and transit of specimens from nature for trading purpose"- Dr. The said.

Thus, right in the early days of 2019 and at the peak of fighting against smuggling in Tet Holiday, Hai Phong Customs Department discovered and seized a total of more than 3 tons of ivory and pangolin scales. This constitutes the largest violation in the country related to ivory and pangolin in 2019, and in Hai Phong area in recent years.

By Thái Bình/Thanh Thuy