September 24, 2018 17:07

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Warning on smuggled seafood mingling with domestic goods

15:47 | 08/04/2018

VCN – Tons of unknown origin and poor quality cockles, mullet fish and bombay duck fish have been imported and could mingle into the wet market with cheaper prices than domestic aquaculture.

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Quang Ninh Customs force destroyed smuggled goods in March of 2018. Photo: Phạm Hiến

It is noteworthy that it is hard to distinguish between domestic aquatic and marine products and smuggled seafood when circulated in the market.

According to the Quang Ninh Market Management Department, in recent years, in the this area, there appears to be the situation of bringing smuggled goods into the country, then placing the mark, "Made in Viet Nam" as a label; purchasing invoices of some business households in border areas to legalize smuggled goods. Using the hydraulic cylinders on cars to hide smuggled goods, thus causing difficulties for the inspection and detection of competent forces. On the other hand, as China intensifies the fight against temporary import and re-export of goods, there is potential danger of smuggling liquor, cigarettes and frozen food into the country. Recently, during the rush of market control (from 15/12/2017 to 15/1/2018), the unit has detected, processed 43 cases, fined 108 million VND; confiscated 100kg of confectionery; 710kg of meat and 1,480 pigeons; 975 Bronze croaker fish, 690kg black pomfret fish ... the value of goods estimated at 240 million VND.

Through the observation of reporters, after the Tet holiday in the Quang Ninh border area, not only the appearance of goods items which have a huge consumption market, such as cigarettes and cosmetics have been found, but also fresh seafood has been transported and "crossed the border” by smugglers. The area of Mong Cai city has become a gathering point, while Highway 18A is still a transit route for smuggled goods from the border gate to the inland. Many cases of smuggling have been detected and seized by the competent forces such as smuggled frozen foods are packed into packages, foam barrels are transported on ordinary means of transportation in order to escape from the task force when they are on duty. If the competent forces do not detect and handle timely, tons of unknown origin and poor quality cockles, mullet fish and bombay duck fish could mingle into wet markets for consumption.

Particularly, from the end of February of 2018 till now, the Customs Enforcement force of Quang Ninh has detected and handled 4 cases of Chinese smugglers. Typically, on 12/3, during the patrols in Pham Hong Thai Street (in Ka Long Ward, Mong Cai City, Quang Ninh), the working group of the Customs Enforcement Unit No. 1 (Quang Ninh Customs Department) discovered P.G.L (lives in Tran Phu ward, Mong Cai city), collected in 20 foam boxes (type of 35kg / barrel), the equivalent of 700kg of bombay duck fish. The above goods were bought by Mr. L. in China, and then he hired transporters to bring goods to the area and put them on a car for transport to Ha Long Bay to sell. At the time of inspection, Mr. L. could not present any legal invoices and documents proving the lawful origin of the goods.

Previously, on 4/3, at the pavement area of Nguyen Binh Khiem Street in the area 2, Ka Long Ward, HCMC. Mong Cai, Customs Enforcement Unit No. 1 discovered N.V.L, (was born in 1972 and lives in Chien Thang commune, An Lao district, Hai Phong city) who transported smuggled goods without legal documents for the Customs operation including 1,500 kg of fresh oysters, type of 100-120 individuals / kg (some are died) originated from China, total value was 38 million VND.

Through the discussion with the Customs News reporter, some Customs officials of the Customs Enforcement Unit No.1, Quang Ninh Customs Department said that the majority of violation cases relating to seafood that were detected by the unit are done by smugglers. They used iron ferry boats to transport illegally across the border. Those goods originated from China and did not go through state inspection on quality and food safety. It is hard to differentiate between domestic seafood and smuggled seafood by eye. Therefore, if the smuggled goods are mingled with domestic goods, consumers could not differentiate by themselves as well, as well as the inability to control by competent forces. The violated goods will be destroyed in accordance with law by the unit in coordination with Finance Department after seizure.

As can be seen, the situation of food safety violations is still complicated, the use of chemicals, banned substances, additives are not allowed to be used in preservation still occurs, especially in processing seafood. Transporting and trading goods without a quarantine certificate is still frequently occurring.

Leaders of the Market Management Department warned that consumers need to buy essential products with clear origin and quality in wet markets, supermarkets and trade centers. In addition, the Market Management Force has strengthened propaganda in the mass media, propagandizing the harmful effects of smuggling to raise awareness among people in the fight against smuggling and fake goods; Calling people to implement the program "Vietnamese people use Vietnamese goods" ... in big cities such as: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City... strengthened the signing of commitments not to produce and trade counterfeit goods and infringing goods to organizations and individuals in the locality, contributing to creating a radical change in the sense of respect for the law of customs officials, enterprises and consumers.

By Quang Hùng/Thanh Thuy