How more than 6 tons of smuggled gold transported to Vietnam?

VCN - Taking advantage of border residents' policies, using homemade camouflaged vehicles to transport gold... in just a short time, dozens of subjects illegally transported more than 6 tons of gold, worth VND 8,461 billion from Cambodia to Vietnam to sell, illegally profiting tens of billions of Dong.
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Noi Bai Customs Branch gathers information to prevent gold smuggling Noi Bai Customs Branch gathers information to prevent gold smuggling
Tang vật vàng nhập lậu bị bắt quả tang vận chuyển ngày 28/9/2022
Smuggled gold seized on September 28, 2022

Over 2 months, 6 tons of gold were smuggled

Since 2012, the State Bank has strictly managed the import of gold bars, gold pieces, and raw gold according to Decree 24/2012/ND-CP. Taking advantage of the market's demand for gold bars and raw gold and the domestic gold price being higher than the gold price in Cambodia, in just a short period of time, the subjects organized the smuggling of large amounts of gold from Cambodia to Vietnam through Chang Riec border gate (Tay Ninh).

On September 28, 2022, the Investigation Police Agency (C03) - Ministry of Public Security monitored and supervised the entire process of subjects transporting and smuggling gold from Cambodia to Vietnam for consumption and ordered a level 2 emergency search of vehicles of 2 groups of subjects immediately after carrying out the gold delivery at Hong Lac Street, Ward 14, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, arrested 4 subjects, confiscated 63 kg of gold, and means of transportation. Expanding the investigation, C03 conducted emergency searches at the residences, workplaces, and gold shops of related subjects in Tay Ninh province and Ho Chi Minh City, confiscating an additional 13kg of gold and a large amount of foreign currency.

From the above case, up to now, C03 has prosecuted 25 defendants involved in two smuggling lines. These two gold smuggling lines are led by Nguyen Thi Minh Phung (born in 1981, from Binh Dinh) and Nguyen Thi Kim Phuong (born in 1985, from Tay Ninh).

The first line was led by Nguyen Thi Minh Phung, connected with Nguyen Thi Ngoc Giau and attracted 20 people to participate. During the period from August 2022 to September 2022, the subjects smuggled 4,830 kg of gold bars, worth more than VND 6,644 billion from Cambodia to Vietnam, benefiting more than VND 17.6 billion.

The second line was led by Nguyen Thi Kim Phuong, connected with Nguyen Thi Ngoc Giau and enticed 5 other people to participate in smuggling. During the period from July 2022 to September 2022, the subjects smuggled 1,320kg of gold bars, worth VND 1,817 billion, from Cambodia to Vietnam, benefiting more than VND 6.8 billion.

Thus, in just 3 months, from July 2022 to September 2022, two lines led by Nguyen Thi Minh Phung and Nguyen Thi Kim Phuong, linked with subjects, smuggled 6,150 kg of gold from Cambodia into Vietnam, with a value of VND 8,461 billion, illegally gained VND 24.4 billion.

Using homemade vehicles to transport gold

The subjects took advantage of the State's policy on managing people and vehicles, including border residents, who frequently pass through the border gate to smuggle gold.

The investigation results of the Police agency determined that, between 4:30 p.m. and 4:55 p.m. on September 20, 23, 24 and 27, 2022, there was a male subject riding a tricycle from Cambodia through barrier No.1 of Chang Riec border gate to enter Vietnam, the vehicle did not have a license plate attached (a homemade vehicle), the three-wheeled vehicle had no cargo on it, and concealed smuggled gold to be transported into Vietnam (returning to Nguyen Thi Ngoc Giau's house).

According to well-founded investigation results, during business hours, the Border Guard Station of Chang Riec border gate arranged officers to coordinate with Customs and Quarantine forces to directly control the border gate area. Outside of office hours (from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. the next morning), the Border Guard is responsible for guarding national security and preventing drug crimes, smuggling, and trade fraud, during this time frame, people, vehicles, and goods are not allowed to cross the border gate, except in cases of force majeure as prescribed by law.

However, from August 3, 2022 to September 28, 2022, between 4:30 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. the previous day - 6:00 a.m. the next day, defendant Tran Thanh Thang regularly delivered and received motorbikes with cold ice containers with a Cambodian subject at barrier No. 1 of Chang Riec border gate, under the direct control of Border Guard officers at the border gate. The actions of the above officials show signs of "irresponsibility causing serious consequences". Considering that this violation falls under the investigative authority of the Investigation Agency in the People's Army, C03 therefore transferred all related documents to the Criminal Investigation Agency of the Ministry of National Defense for investigation and handling according to authority.

The results of working with Xa Mat Border Gate Customs Branch determined that during the above period of time, two customs officers were on duty. However, the vehicle driven by defendant Tran Thanh Thang was not subject to customs inspection. Testimonies of the defendants and individuals involved in the case and collected documents did not prove that customs officials were involved in gold smuggling.

Regarding the above case, on March 20, 2024, the Supreme People's Procuracy completed an indictment recommending the prosecution of 24 defendants involved in two smuggling lines of 6,150kg of gold from Cambodia to Vietnam.

By Le Thu/ Huyen Trang

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