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VCN - Contraband cigarettes are transported by cars from HCM City to the Western region, then to the Central region. This is a new route, showing that cigarette smuggling in the country has been complicated and sotisphicated.
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HCM City as a transit place
In the evening of February 3, on the National Road 1 at area of Phuoc Thanh commune, My Tho city, My Tho city Police and Tien Giang province police stopped and searched a car with control plate 51H-806.80 driven by Nguyen Tuong Duy accompanied by Tran Nhut Linh.
As the initial inspection result, the car was moving on National Road 1 from HCM City to Trung Luong with suspicious signs; the working group had stopped the car for inspection. However, the driver did not obey the order and suddenly speeded up and fled but plunged down the road sideline and could not continue to move. The two suspects in the car opened the door and ran away but were arrested. The working group discovered nine sacks of 6,500 packs of imported cigarettes Cost and Jet brands through inspection.
On January 10, at the headquarters of Ha Phuong VN One Member Co., Ltd, the southern branch of Hanh Cafe Kim Travel (district 1), the Ho Chi Minh City Police had checked and discovered 10 packages in cartons which were going to loaded on a passenger bus. Through the search, the police seized tens of thousands of packs of cigarettes Korean brand ESSE Change without documents and vouchers. The company's representative admitted that the company was hired by a person residing in HCM City to transport the above goods from HCM City to the Central region.
As well as seizing small transportation cases, the authorities also busted a very large ring of cigarette smuggling in many provinces and cities in the South. The suspects used many bank accounts to illegally buy and sell cigarettes with transaction values of up to billions of dong.
Recently, Ninh Kieu district police caught three people in the act of trading banned goods and seized 17,530 packs of cigarettes of all kinds. During the investigation, the police discovered that the suspects were involved in a particularly large ring of cigarette smuggling which operates in many provinces and cities such as: Ho Chi Minh City, Long An, Dong Nai, Hau Giang, An Giang. The police identified that this is extremely large case involving many people, therefore the unit established a special project. Ninh Kieu Police have prosecuted the case, initiated the accused, detained five suspects, seized 21,065 packs of smuggled foreign cigarettes of all kinds and six motorbikes.
Transporting contraband goods in large quantities
Not only transporting cigarettes from HCM City to the West and Central regions, recently, authorities also discovered that smuggled cigarettes are also transported from Tay Ninh to the Mekong Delta for consumption.
On January 19, in the area of Rong Tuong hamlet, Thanh Phuoc commune, Go Dau district, police caught a person named Thanh and four others in the act of transporting contraband cigarettes. The police seized 16,400 smuggled foreign cigarettes of all kinds. At the police’s office, Thanh initially admitted that he had bought the above cigarettes from Cambodia. If the transport is successful, Thanh will hire others to bring them to the western provinces for consumption.
Unlike in the past, smugglers often carry less than 1,500 packs each time to avoid criminal prosecution, however, the smuggles are very reckless using use cars to transport contraband goods in large quantities. Most of the seized goods are transported from the Long An border area.
In the early morning of February 1, 2023, on National Road 1A, in Thuan Hoa commune, Chau Thanh district, Soc Trang province, the police caught a 5-seater car with a control plate 60A-566.47 full of smuggled cigarettes, driven by Dang Quoc Tinh, born in 1981, registering as his permanent place in Binh Hoa Bac commune, Duc Hue district, Long An province. Inspecting the car, authorities discovered 8,000 packs of smuggled cigarettes. The driver admitted he was hired to transport the above cigarettes from Long An province to Soc Trang for consumption.
Previously, Kien Giang Police also arrested Nguyen Van Tuan (born in 1982) and Nguyen Sy Toan (born in 1990), living in My Lam commune, Hon Dat district (Kien Giang), when they were transporting 93,000 packs of cigarettes (worth 1.5 billion dong) from Long An province to Kien Giang for an unknown woman with a wage of VND4 million.
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The Perak Royal Malaysian Customs Department seized contraband cigarettes worth RM2 million from a house in Sitiawan.
According to the anti-smuggling unit of Dong Thap Customs, because the state agencies at the border gate have implemented many measures to control and prevent smuggled cigarettes, smugglers take advantage of the night to transport them through border-crossings and gather them in large quantities and then use all tricks to bring them to inland for consumption. The smuggled cigarettes are taken from the dealers, and transported on trucks and passenger cars to inland areas, gathered in warehouses, then divided into small quantities and sell at grocery stores.
By Le Thu/ Huyen Trang