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The first smuggling case of N20 is prosecuted by Customs

21:01 | 29/09/2019

VCN- Searching for the keyword “funky ball” on Google, it takes only 0.26 seconds to find 36 million results, including a series of information about the arrest of funkyball warehouses, the harm and illegal use of funkyball from north to south, especially in big cities such as Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. From a chemical that is legally used in health and industry, nitrous oxide is now used illegally and widely for relaxation purposes at entertainment places among young people.  

the first smuggling case of n20 is prosecuted by customs Specialized project HP002 and the fight against prohibited goods in Hai Phong port area
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the first smuggling case of n20 is prosecuted by customs
N2O gas tank was discovered by Hai Phong Customs. Photo: Hai Phong Customs.

The first smuggling case of funky ball prosecuted

Talking to Customs News reporter, the leader of the Customs Enforcement Team (Hai Phong Customs Department) said recently, some people used N2O to pump balloons, young people called funkyball to snuff for unhealthy entertainment.

“Realising that the funkyball originating from aboard to Vietnam is traded in the domestic market through the import with purpose of production and trade in the industrial sector, in June 2019, the leader of Hai Phong Customs Department developed a scheme of prevention and combat against trade frauds for violations of business activities under business licenses in N2O imports via Hai Phong port,” the leader of the Customs Enforcement Team said.

Implementing the scheme, the team made records to investigate and control N20 imports in Hai Phong Port in particular and the country in general. Through the investigation, the team detected a case of N2O imports with suspicious signs.

On July 30, Hoa Viet Chemical Trading Joint Stock Company (Hoa Viet Company), address: No. 15C, 39 Alley , 191 Lane, Thach Ban street, Thach Ban ward, Long Bien district, Hanoi declared to import consignments under two declarations at the Hai Phong Seaport Customs Branch of Zone II.

According to the declaration, the cargo is N20, with a quantity of 6,795 kg and stored in an industrial gas tank with a capacity of of 20,110 litres (and a declaration for temporary import for re-export of this tank of the cargo).

Facing suspicious signs of the shipment, the Customs Enforcement Team (under Hai Phong Customs Department) coordinated with the Hai Phong Seaport Customs Branch of Zone II and the Anti-drug Enforcement Unit-Unit 5 (under Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department) to conduct a physical inspection. As a result, the N2O gas also known as funkyball with a purity of 99.6 percent and a net quantity of 20,490 kg were found.

Thus, Hoa Viet Company falsely declared the quantity and volume of goods. The Customs authority determined the undeclared goods value was more than VND 820 million.

Based on the verification results, Hai Phong Customs Department reported to Director General of Vietnam Customs about the Hoa Viet Company's violation and the implementation of the scheme of prevention and combat against trade fraud for violations of business activities under business licenses in N2O imports. At the same time, it held an interdisciplinary meeting including the Investigation Police Department (Hai Phong Police Department) and Hai Phong City People's Procuracy to decide on the handling of this case.

As a result, authorities determined the violation of Hoa Viet Company had all elements of smuggling as prescribed in Article 188 of the Criminal Code 2015 amended and supplemented in 2017.

On September 20, Hai Phong Customs Department issued a decision to prosecute the criminal case for smuggling at Hai Phong Port related to the N2O imports by Hoa Viet Company to investigate.

Hai Phong Customs Department has transferred the specialized information to the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department to expand the investigation of the import and use of N2O gas products nationwide.

This is the first case related to funky ball prosecuted by Customs. According to investigation of Customs News reporter, although competent forces detected and seized many cases trafficking and illegal using funky ball, the information on prosecution for case related to this gas causing harm to health and illegally and widely used has not been updated.

the first smuggling case of n20 is prosecuted by customs
Funky ball is used illegally and widely with many consequences. Photo: Internet

Ministry of Public Security: Funky ball affects life

Regarding the illegal use of funky ball, the Ministry of Public Security said N2O can greatly impact the nervous system, creating a laughing and relaxing feeling for users. However, if regularly used, it can cause disorders such as stinging sensations and unsteady walking, mood disorders, memory disorders, sleep disorders, heart rhythm disorders and hypotension and lack of blood and B12.

But N2O is not among drugs and precursors subject to specialised management by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. It is only used for anesthetic and analgesic in the health field or for packaging and preserving food.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, although N2O is not on the list of drugs and precursors, facing the use of funky ball by the young causing harm to health and life, especially using together with synthetic drugs psychotropic substances, for example the incident causing the death of seven people in June 2018 at West Lake, the ministry has taken many measures to prevent and handle this situation.

On October 16, 2018, the Ministry of Public Security issued Official Telegraph No. 410 requesting the local police units to strengthen prevention, control and combat against crimes of trafficking, organising, storing, enticing and coercing people to use synthetic drugs, especially at conditional business establishments on security and order, events and festivals. Coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Health, Market Surveillance, and Customs to assess the demand for using N2O gas to take measures to tighten imports and supplement regulations on management for trading N2O gas in the country.

The Ministry of Public Security continues to coordinate the competent forces to analyse the use of N2O and new psychotropic substances in the country, refer to the regulations of the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB) and other countries around the world on these substances, when having sufficient basis, it will propose the Government to include in the list of drugs and precursors for a legal basis to fight and handle the subjects of trading, transportation and production and illegal use of these substances.

By Thai Binh/ Ngoc Loan