VCN - Cigarette smuggling situations in the southern border provinces are complicated, magnates are extremely vulnerable while the anti-smuggling forces are still thin on the ground, which makes the war more and more arduous and complicated.
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Forces on duty in Mộc Bài Border gate (Tây Ninh) coordinate to inspect imported vehicles. Photo: T.D.
mugglers attack functional Forces
According to the functional forces of the southern border provinces, profits from cigarette smuggling are just behind drugs so whatever the attempts of the anti-smuggling forces are, the situation of illicit cigarette trades is always "hot". What is of concern is that the smuggling transporters and traffickers almost openly challenge the anti-smuggling forces. Contraband goods are not only carried and transported by primitive means like before but also by cars, taxis, trucks, even State license numbered vehicles from state agencies to transport tobacco across borders to consume inland…
Mr. Võ Thiện Ngô, Vice-Director of Long An Market Management Branch said the transportation, storage and trading of smuggled cigarettes in the province of Long An continues unabated with more complicated and serious tricks as well as the nature and scope of the violation. Smuggling activities are under the line, dens, using motorcycles, motorboats, cars in high speed to transport large shipments. Moreover, magnates also shake hands, incite transporters to obstruct, oppose and assault forces on duty to snatch the goods and evidences of violation. Notably, a smuggler beat to death by a stick Mr. Nguyễn Kim Danh, official of Team No. 1 of Long An Market Management Branch on last September 15th which reflected the dangerous and complicated nature of the fight against smuggling.
Besides, in some neigbouring districts of Long An, Tây Ninh, HCM City such as: Đức Hòa, Đức Huệ, many smuggling gangs and organizations incorporate with others to fight against forces on duty. The transport of contraband cigarettes is more often at night than during the day, and shipped mainly via river routes in large quantities, about 5,000-6,000 packages/ shipment.
In Đồng Tháp province, functional forces are also stretching their days to prevent illicit tobacco from the Cambodian border into Vietnam. According to Mr. Nguyen Thanh Toan, Deputy Director of Đồng Tháp Customs Branch, along Đồng Tháp border routes there are about 20 points and warehouses of illegally imported goods, of which the most complex is the one along the river Sở Thượng in the area of Thường Thới Hậu B commune (Hong Ngu district). Every day, approximately 20-25 barrels (sometimes as many as 40-50 barrels) with about 5,000 packets of smuggled cigarettes are shipped across the border.
Cigarette smugglers often monitor working forces closely before and during the transportation by arranging people (usually 2), guarding before the Office or driving to detect ahead. After investigating, they arrange an intensive continuous line to take care of contraband goods by warning or announcing the appearance of working forces so that the they will separate or stop the transportation", said Nguyễn Thanh Toàn.
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The smugglers often use many skillful tactics to hide tobacco such as scattering in many places or storing from 15 to 20 packs in each person’s house. Tobacco is not kept indoors for a long time, usually about an hour and then is transported by motorcycles, cars, boats or sent by student’s bags to take inland. In particular, on the route from Hong Ngu Town to Cao Lanh (Đồng Tháp) and Tien Giang has many very professional and reckless motorcycle groups carrying between 700 and 1,200 cigarette packs / trip at high speed. On the transporting route, there is always someone checking and calling to guide the transporters.
More dangerously, smugglers are ready to obstruct the traffic while being chased or crash straight into anti-smuggling forces if being captured. On October 2nd , 2 anti-smuggling officers of Đồng Tháp Border Guard were hit by a motorcyclist smuggling 20 packs of tobacco. Mr. Nguyễn Kế Nam, Captain of drug prevention specialized Team suffered a fractured collarbone and Mr. Nguyễn Thế Võ was injured.
|Lieutenant General Đồng Đại Lộc, Deputy Director General of Police said, the ongoing and rampant status of illegal cigarette imports into Vietnam has seriously impacted the economy of the country, causing heavy losses to the State budget. In 2012, tax losses were about 6.500 billion VND and 6.700 billion VND in 2013. For the last two years, this number has risen to 10,000 billion VND per year. According to the Vietnam Tobacco Association, illegally imported tobacco trade has taken away more than 20% of market share in the country, caused loss of revenue, reduced material outputs of 18,000 tons / year (equivalent to 10,000 hectares of planted area); cut down 5 million working hours/ year, reduced 600,000 workers / year ...|
Thu Diu/Thu Phuong