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New methods used to bring contraband goods into Vietnam

13:55 | 01/08/2021

VCN – The illegal importation of goods via HCM City ports amid the Covid-19 pandemic has reduced but new methods have emerged.

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Imported old clocks seized by HCM City Customs at Cat Lai port. Photo: T.H
Imported old clocks seized by HCM City Customs at Cat Lai port. Photo: T.H

Changing names of consignee

In early July 2021, the Customs Control and Supervision Team under Sai Gon port zone 1 Customs Branch investigated a container imported from the United States to Cat Lai.

The container was filled with banned goods including televisions, gas stoves, computers, microwaves, mixing machines and landline phones. All goods were second-hand and subject to the list of goods banned from import and different from goods declared on the bill of lading.

The head of the team, Dang Bui Viet, said the tricks used were sophisticated. Traders have changed the name of the consignee three times and have not carried out customs procedures. The customs branch has issued a decision on physical inspection.

In addition, to bring banned goods to Vietnam, some smugglers make incorrect declarations to deceive customs officers. The importation of contraband goods of Tan Phong Transport Investment Co., Ltd was taken to the court by Sai Gon port zone 1 Customs Branch.

The company imported banned goods but declared them as wrenches and screwdrivers to be automatically channeled into the Green Channel. But when the customs inspected the shipment and classified the declaration into the Red Channel (physical inspection), the company failed to present documents to avoid legal responsibility and customs inspection.

Moreover, to avoid responsibility, traders establish many companies which have incorrect addresses and no signboards and often change headquarters. If their violations are identified, these companies will refuse to receive goods and will not work with the customs officers.

The recent importation of 1.5 tonnes of old medical gloves from China to Cat Lai port of VHC company is one example. After an investigation, the customs found that the company had just been established for several months and was not operating at the registered address.

Detecting contraband goods imported from China

HCM City Customs Department said the illegal importation of goods via seaports and airports in HCM City has dropped amid the Covid-19 pandemic but new tricks have emerged.

HCM City Customs Department also discovered many imports of contraband goods and tax fraud via information analysis and screening before goods arrive at the port.

Recently, from the information of the Risk Management Department about analysis and advance screening of an imported container from China to Cat Lai port, the Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch identified in the customs dossier that the importer declared goods to be a laser cutting machine, the declaration was classified into Green Channel (exempt from physical inspection).

The inspection results found that the imported goods were over 9 tonnes of cold-rolled stainless steel, without customs declaration. The undeclared taxable value of the goods was VND529 million, the tax payable rose by nearly VND350 million. The Customs Branch has fined the company VND70 million and imposed the sufficient tax payable.

In addition, HCM City Customs Department has detected many contraband shipments of huge volume.

From information of the Risk Management Department, HCM City Customs Department recognized one container imported from China without customs declaration. The goods are thick aluminium alloy; laser welding machine; laser engraving machine for stainless steel and laser cutting machine. The undeclared taxable value of the goods is nearly VND1.1 billion, the tax amount is over VND112 million.

Similarly, HCM City Customs also discovered 20 tonnes of materials used for glass grinding and 2,000 spare parts for glass grinding machines and glass polishing tools without customs declaration in imported containers declared as machines and equipment. The importing company has been taxed and fined over VND70 million.

The Covid-19 pandemic is still complicated and unpredictable. In addition to facilitating import and export activities, HCM City Customs Department has taken many measures to control goods at seaports and airports to guard against acts of customs law violations, especially abusing the pandemic to bring contraband goods into Vietnam.

By Le Thu/ Huyen Trang