Improving effectiveness of anti-drug, precursor control

VCN - Drug crimes are still complicated, requiring the Customs, especially the anti-drug team, to always uphold the spirit of vigilance and drastically deploy professional measures to promptly fight, detect, seize and handle violations.
Cut off lines of transnational drug-related crime Cut off lines of transnational drug-related crime
Risks from precursors Risks from precursors
Customs - Police cooperate effectively in anti-drug Customs - Police cooperate effectively in anti-drug
On January 22, 2024, the Customs Enforcement Team (Quang Binh Customs Department) coordinated with the Border Guard, Ba Don Town Police and PC04 Division (Quang Binh Provincial Police) to seize a trafficking of 29,800 synthetic drug pills in Vinh Phu village, Quang Hai commune, Ba Don town, Quang Binh province. Photo: Quang Binh Customs
On January 22, 2024, the Customs Enforcement Team (Quang Binh Customs Department) coordinated with the Border Guard, Ba Don Town Police and PC04 Division (Quang Binh Provincial Police) to seize a trafficking of 29,800 synthetic drug pills in Vinh Phu village, Quang Hai commune, Ba Don town, Quang Binh province. Photo: Quang Binh Customs

Complicated developments

According to the General Department of Customs, from the beginning of 2024, the situation of illicit trade and transportation of drugs across the border has remained extremely complicated and surged in scale and number of violations.

Updated in January 2024 (from December 16, 2023 to January 15, 2024), the Customs presided and coordinated with other forces (Police, Border Guard) to seize 38 cases, 49 arrests (of which the Customs presided over 7 cases), confiscated over 55.4 kg of drugs of all kinds.

In particular, the drug trafficking by air continues to increase both in number and scale, focusing mainly through international airports: Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat, Da Nang, with supplies from European and American countries. In addition, drug trafficking thorugh land and sea routes also pose many potential risks.

Director of the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department (General Department of Customs) Nguyen Hung Anh said that to further strengthen the effectiveness of the anti-drug, the Customs sector is determined to continue to mobilize all resources and assign responsibility to the entire force to unify measures to improve the effectiveness of drug prevention and precursor control.

In particular, the Customs sector proactively prevents, identifies and promptly stops acts of taking advantage of legally imported and exported precursors and chemicals to produce illegal drugs; focuses on a number of specific tasks and areas such as: building a contingent of professional and skillful customs officials; applying science and technology towards digital customs and smart customs models; especially focusing on promoting international coordination and cooperation in the field of anti-drug.

Strengthening cooperation

Notably, the Customs sector has been strengthening many plans, activities, and international cooperation projects on drug prevention and combat with development in both scale and depth, on both the bilateral and multilateral levels.

Regarding the bilateral cooperation, the Customs shall continue to promote cooperation in the field of drug control, prevention and combat in a practical and effective way with traditional partners, typically, customs agencies of countries and territories: United States, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (China), Australia, South Korea;

Strengthening cooperation through activities such as: Exchanging and supporting information verification; risk analysis, identifying key points; providing information about suspected subjects and shipments to serve the fight against large cases related to drug trafficking; implementing programs and projects to strengthen general control of drugs and precursors; updating warning information and trends of drug criminals...

“The bilateral international cooperation channels have very effectively supported the fight against drugs of Vietnam Customs in recent years and especially in 2023. Thereby, the bilateral cooperation between Vietnam Customs and Customs administrations of partner countries has been improved and more substantive and achieved many specific results", said Director Nguyen Hung Anh.

In the multilateral framework, Vietnam Customs has made its mark with the success of Operation Mekong Dragon. This is a joint activity against trafficking in drugs, precursors and endangered wild fauna and flora species on the CITES list. Operation Mekong Dragon was initiated in 2018 from the co-initiative of the Customs authorities of Vietnam and China, with technical support from the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific (RILO AP) of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and UNODC. To date, the Campaign has gone through five phases and one expanded phase. Especially in phase 5 (2023), on the Vietnamese side, there has been the participation of Customs and Police forces. Mekong Dragon is considered one of the region's outstanding and typical campaigns in drug prevention and control cooperation. This is the foundation for member Customs authorities to propose to competent authorities of other countries to implement the next phase of the Campaign.

Do not let smuggling hot spots arise

Regarding the anti-smuggling, the General Department of Customs assessed that in January 2024, the smuggling and trade fraud are potentially complicated. Notably, the trafficking of firecrackers tends to increase as the Lunar New Year 2024 approaches. Suspects take advantage of immigration transport vehicles, reinforce cargo holds, compartments, and barrels to hide firecrackers to deceive the authorities, mainly in some localities such as: Quang Tri, Nghe An, Lang Son...

In addition, consumer and essential goods (sugar, cigarettes, beer, cosmetics, frozen foods...) are also targeted by smugglers in provinces such as Lang Son, Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Lao Cai, Cao Bang...

Facing the above situation, as an advisory agency for the Standing Agency of the National Steering Committee 389 and the Steering Committee 389 of the Ministry of Finance, the General Department of Customs has focused on implementing a peak plan to combat smuggling, transshipment, and counterfeit goods before, during and after the Lunar New Year of the Dragon in 2024. In particular, the General Department of Customs has issued documents directing and warning local customs departments and guiding implementation of anti-smuggling and anti-trade fraud.

In January 2024 (from December 16, 2023 to January 15, 2024), the entire Customs sector handled 1,253 violations, seizing infringing goods estimated at VND1,617.7 billion. The Customs prosecuted four cases and transferred to other agencies nine cases; and collected nearly VND 23 billion (updated until January 26, 2024).

By Thai Binh/ Huyen Trang

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