Smuggling and trade fraud are on the rise ahead of Tết, which falls on February 12. —VNA/ Photo.
HCM CITY – Officers tasked with preventing fake goods, trade fraud and smuggling in HCM City and southern border provinces have been forced to work hard ahead of Tết (Lunar New Year), which falls on February 12 this year.
Last week the HCM City customs department discovered 14 steel containers that consignee V.V Steel Company described wrongly to evade tax.
The company, in Long An Province’s Đức Hòa District, made a declaration that would have allowed it to enjoy 0 per cent tax instead of the 10-15 per cent it had to pay, equivalent to VNĐ1 billion (US$43,000).
Now, besides the tax it will also have to pay a penalty of 20 per cent of the amount.
Smuggling and trade fraud are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Trương Văn Ba, director of the HCM City Market Surveillance Department, said last year 25,538 violations had been discovered involving loss of tax revenues of VNĐ5.8 trillion.
Competent agencies filed charges in 113 cases.
According to Steering Committee 389 of HCM City, inspections had been reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic but specifically target warehouses, yards and sites where large volumes of smuggled goods are likely to be concealed, improving the efficiency of prevention efforts.
According to the city police, local militia have been urged to look out for dubious activities and crack down on the trade in prohibited, smuggled and counterfeit goods.
Drugs, weapons, illegal firecrackers, unsafe and violent toys, and cigarettes are in the sights of officials.
The city border guard force, the Southern Border Guard Soldiers’ Department of Drug and Crime Prevention, naval squadron No 28 under the Việt Nam Border Defence Force, and border forces in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu and Tiền Giang provinces will look out for possible violations at estuaries, sea ports and sea borders .
The city is also calling on businesses and consumers to join hands in the fight against smuggling and trade fraud.
Border authorities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces of An Giang, Kiên Giang and Đồng Tháp are stepping up efforts to keep out smuggled goods, which usually increases during the year-end period.
The contraband is mostly cigarettes and sugar brought in through the Châu Đốc City border in An Giang Province.
Smugglers transport the goods from Cambodia in boats, motorbikes and trucks at night to evade officers, but if spotted are not averse to attacking them.
Kiên Giang Province’s Hà Tiên City also sees smuggling of goods from across the border, usually late at night.
Smugglers travel in groups and transport large quantities of contraband, mainly foreign-made cigarettes.
Authorities have discovered hundreds of cases of smuggling and confiscated tens of thousands of packs of cigarettes and other goods.
Fishing boats are used to illegally transport and sell oil and petrol at sea.
Hundreds of thousands of litres of oil of unknown origin have been seized by local agencies, who have also collected billions of đồng in fines.
The An Giang Province steering committee for anti-smuggling, trade fraud and fake goods said troops were patrolling border gates, trails and crossings to prevent smuggling. –