Hai Phong Customs proactively prevent contraband

VCN – Through three consecutive cases of smuggled ivory that were promptly detected and seized by Hai Phong Customs Department within 2 months, it demonstrates the unit's proactive and timely action in preventing and combating smuggling.
Smuggled ivory seized by Hai Phong Customs on March 20. Photo: T.Bình
Smuggled ivory seized by Hai Phong Customs on March 20. Photo: T.Bình

Unusual sign of a huge batch of ivory

On March 20, at Nam Hai Dinh Vu port (Hai Phong), Hai Phong Customs Department chaired and coordinated with Hai Phong Police to inspect a 20-foot container. As a result, they discovered about 7 tons of ivory, the largest amount seized at Hai Phong port. The case is being further investigated, verified and clarified to be handled strictly following the law.

Hai Phong Customs Department representative said that by applying professional measures, the Department analyzed and evaluated six suspicious containers. In particular, the shipment of three containers (declared as peanuts) showed signs of very high risk. The shipment was transported from Angola (Africa) as a port of departure and transshipped in Singapore to hide the shipping route, describing the names of goods in an unfamiliar language. This is a new and very sophisticated trick to evade the control of Customs.

As soon as the goods were unloaded at the port, Hai Phong Customs Department directed units to conduct key supervision and inspection of goods with a container scanning machine and then conduct a physical inspection of the entire shipment after analyzing the suspected images.

African ivory seized by Hai Phong Customs Department is in Appendix I of CITES of the list of goods banned from import, violating the provisions of Decree No. 69/2018/ND-CP dated May 15, 2018, of the Government.

Talking to a reporter of Customs News, a representative of Hai Phong Customs Department said that, besides the unusual content as mentioned above, some other suspicious points that made the Customs authority pay special attention to this smuggling shipment was the information of bill of lading.

The enterprise receiving the goods was Long Thanh Import-Export Investment and Development Company Limited, with a tax code and address at 112 Nguyen Van Luong, Ward 17, Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City. However, when the customs authority conducted verification, this tax code and address belonged to Saigon HTM Import-Export Co., Ltd.

Proactively plan to fight

According to Hai Phong Customs Department, several seizure cases showed that smuggling activities, trade frauds, and illegal transport of goods across the border at the management areas still take place silently with sophisticated and unpredictable methods and tricks.

With the position of the largest international seaport in the North, in 2022, the volume of goods exported and imported through the area had grown significantly, estimated at approximately 4 million teus (1 teu is a standard 20 feet container) and over 8 million tons of bulk and liquid cargo. In the first two months of 2023, the total volume of goods exported and imported through the Hai Phong seaport area is estimated at 8.6 million tons. With a large volume of export and import goods and a long seaport system, there is always a potential risk of violations related to import and export activities. Smugglers often focus on several violations such as failure to make customs declaration or incorrect declaration compared to the actual goods; concealing the origin and route of the shipment; goods are hidden sophisticatedly and hidden among non-infringing goods to evade the control of domestic and foreign authorities; importing goods that do not meet the conditions of standards and regulations.

Therefore, leaders of the Hai Phong Customs Department always direct units to strengthen basic investigation and reconnaissance closely to the area at seaports and sea routes under their management areas.

At the same time, actively collecting information, developing and implementing synchronously professional measures, deploying effective fighting topics and projects focusing on high-risk subjects, strengthening inspection of goods by using scanning machine right in the process of unloading goods from means of transport to warehouses, yards and ports; improve the efficiency of setting risk criteria.

Hai Phong Customs has also closely cooperated with competent agencies such as the Police, Border Guard, Coast Guard, and Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department (General Department of Vietnam Customs), thereby controlling the smuggling and trade fraud situation in the management area.

"From the beginning of the year to the middle of March, the whole Department detected and handled 700 cases of violation, with monetary penalties of VND12.1 billion. In particular, through the investigation and grasping the situation, Hai Phong Customs Department chaired and coordinated with the competent authorities to inspect and seize three ivory smuggling cases valued at many billions of VND", a representative of Hai Phong Customs Department shared.

Through assessment, the profit from the ivory and rhino horn trade is huge; there is always a potential risk that criminals will continue to smuggle these items. In particular, in the face of complicated developments on ivory smuggling, Hai Phong Customs Department directed the Risk Management Division to develop a topic on risk control, monitor, collect and analyze information and coordinate with relevant forces to conduct key supervision for shipments imported from Africa. It is a very high-risk route for smuggling and illegal transport of wild animal products violating the CITES Convention.

By Thái Bình/Thanh Thuy

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