VCN - In an interview with Customs News, Director of the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department Nguyen Hung Anh said that in 2021, despite facing many difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, anti-smuggling forces of the customs sector made great efforts to perform their tasks, affirming the leading role of the Customs sector in the anti-smuggling work and making an important contribution to crime prevention and control.
|Director of the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department Nguyen Hung Anh|
Could you tell us about the outstanding results in performing anti-smuggling work in 2021?
In 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic, it significantly affected the export, import and transit of goods as well as people and means of transport on exit and entry. For the anti-smuggling force, controlling the area and implementing professional measures faced many difficulties, especially social distancing and the risk of infection.
Faced with that situation, the General Department of Vietnam Customs closely followed the direction of the Government, the National Steering Committee 389, the Steering Committee of 138/CP of the Government and the Ministry of Finance in order to provide flexible solutions to perform the "dual goals".
The anti-smuggling forces focused on strengthening information collection, grasping the situation, control, and identifying key areas and routes. They also fought, seized and handled banned goods, goods that affected security and order, social safety, goods that counterfeited trademark, fraudulent Vietnamese origin, goods infringing intellectual property rights; strengthening inspection and close supervision of consignments that are transshipped, temporarily imported and re-export, transited, especially goods in high demand.
In addition, the anti-smuggling force continued to strengthen control and handle cases of taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic for smuggling medicines, medical equipment, biological products and SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen tests.
Moreover, the Customs sector actively coordinated with domestic competent forces, as well as strengthened international cooperation to share information and fight to arrest smugglers. 14,568 violations were handled by the customs authority, with the total value of infringing goods estimated at nearly VND2,710 billion and paid into the State Budget nearly VND291 billion.
Customs authorities have prosecuted 39 cases and transferred to other authorities to prosecute 176 cases.
Regarding drug-related crimes, the sector chaired and coordinated to handle 242 cases with 231 suspects and exhibits including 98,312kg of heroin and 52 bricks of heroin; 763kg of cannabis; 505.77kg and 581,246 tablets of synthetic drugs; and 304.3kg of ketamine.
In the year-end period and the Lunar New Year, there are potential risks of smuggling, trade fraud and illegal transport of goods across the border. What do you think about this risk?
During the Lunar New Year, the demand of goods consumption increases. This is also a time of high risk for smuggling, trade fraud, and illegal transport of goods across the border.
In particular, it is necessary to focus on key items with high risks of violation including banned goods, goods affecting security and order and social safety such as drugs, gasoline, firecrackers of all kinds, and wild animals; counterfeit goods, those of fraudulent Vietnamese origin, goods infringing intellectual property rights, especially imported goods for the Tet holiday such as food, wine, beer, tobacco, confectionery, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, herbal ingredients, mobile phones and garments.
Furthermore, smugglers operated in key areas along the land border such as Dien Bien, Cao Bang, Lao Cai, Lang Son, Quang Ninh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, An Giang, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh and Dong Thap.
Meanwhile, on sea routes and at international river ports, the focus is on Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Ba Ria - Vung Tau seaports and the Northeast sea.
For international air and postal routes, the smuggling and illegal transport of goods is forecast to continue to develop. In particular, there are tricks to hide synthetic drugs, marijuana, and herbs containing narcotics in consignment boxes of confectionery and clothing. The key areas were Noi Bai international airport, Da Nang international airport, Tan Son Nhat international airport; Post Offices in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City; and express delivery services.
What key measures do the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department and the Customs enforcement force need to focus on to fight and handle violations, sir?
In order to effectively fulfill anti-smuggling and prevention work, especially in the peak occasion before, during and after the Lunar New Year in 2022, the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department and Customs enforcement force should continue to implement the direction of leaders at all levels.
The Department advised the leaders of the General Department of Vietnam Customs to issue the Peak Plan on fighting smuggling, trade fraud, counterfeit goods and illegal transport of goods across the border in the Lunar New Year of 2022. Accordingly, the leaders of the General Department of Vietnam Customs asked the units to continue to strengthen the direction and the key tasks to professional units; proactively concentrating resources to synchronous deploy customs control measures in order to perform assigned tasks; attaching responsibilities to heads of agencies and units.
Anti-smuggling forces need to focus on information collection, patrol and control to detect and promptly handle cases of taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to smuggle pharmaceutical products, medical equipment, biological products and SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen tests.
Continuing strengthening inspection, supervision, control and fight against acts of taking advantage of policies and procedures for refusing to receive goods and re-export goods for smuggling; improving the effectiveness of the prevention and control of drugs and precursors.
The Customs sector would also continue to promote domestic and international coordination for anti-smuggling.
By Thái Bình/Thanh Thuy