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Shipment of electronics disguised as votive papers

19:50 | 17/10/2019

VCN - An Toc Import - Export Trading Co., Ltd, led by Ms. Do Thi Thuy Phuong, imported a shipment of electronics disguised as votive papers. The case of smuggling is being handled by the General Department of Customs.  

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The shipment was camouflaged with votive papers. Photo: T.H.

Declaration of votive papers

In August 2017, An Toc Import Export Trading Co., Ltd opened a customs declaration at Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch, declaring the import of a consignment of votive papers, door hinges and coil springs. From the questionable information, the Southern Region Anti-smuggling Control Team (Team 3), The Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department and Saigon Port Area 1 Customs Branch coordinated to inspect the imported goods. The export consisted of 21 items, which were electric ovens, catapults, polished granite and wooden chairs. All 21 items were not on the customs declaration. The value of infringing goods was nearly VND1.2 billion, while the total amount of tax fraud was VND355 million.

An Toc Import Export Trading Co., Ltd is registered to operate at No. 2 Thi Sach, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, and the legal representative is Ms. Do Thi Thuy Phuong, born in 1981. However, when the working group of Team 3 visited this address they were unable to locate the business. According to the Ben Nghe Ward Police Department, the company is no longer operating at the registered address. The company previously rented the house here but liquidated the lease and returned the property in October 2017.

Working with Customs, Ms. Do Thi Thuy Phuong said that An Toc Import Export Trade Co., Ltd established in 2015 specializes in consigning consumer goods. The above-mentioned import of An Toc Import & Export Trading Co., Ltd. was entrusted to Shenzhen Penglianshen Import & Export Trade Co. Ltd. Ms. Phuong knew this company through a friend named A Su who was Chinese, but did not know where the company was based. Previously, An Toc Import & Export Trade Co., Ltd also imported a shipment for 1 Penglianshen Import & Export Trade Co. Ltd.

The import shipments were arranged through Wechat. The remuneration for each consignment imported by Ms. Phuong was VND7,000,000. Ms. Phuong paid Mr. Vo Hong Phuc VND500,000 per shipment to carry out customs procedures.

After the import shipment was stopped for inspection, Ms. Phuong contacted her partner and was informed of the wrong shipment of another company. However, until the time of prosecution, Ms. Phuong could not provide the Customs office with any documents to prove the consignment import or the partner had sent the wrong goods.

Unexpected details

After the meeting with the Customs office, the Task Force repeatedly tried to contact the director Do Thi Thuy Phuong and Mr. Vo Hong Phuc (customs clearance staff) by phone. Verifying at the address of residence in District 2, it is known that Ms. Phuong registered the permanent address but until now has not resided at this address.

According to the statement of Team 3, the results of working with Ms. Phuong and the verification results at the shipping company show that Ms. Phuong has intentionally cheated in importing goods to evade taxes. Ms. Phuong could not produce documents proving that the partner sent the wrong goods. The shipping company also did not receive any information about the wrong shipment to return the goods from the shipper and the consignee. On the other hand, after working with Team 3, Ms. Phuong intentionally did not contact Team 3 and turned off her phone.

Expanding the investigation of import and export activities of An Toc Import and Export Trading Co., Ltd., Customs authorities also discovered many unexpected details. In 2017, the company opened two customs declarations to import goods through Cat Lai port, declaring that the imported goods were PVC film. Upon discovering that these two declarations were distributed by the Red channel, the company suspended the system and did not receive procedures to receive goods. However, this shipment was later cleared by the company with another customs declaration but the recipient business was Son Phu Nong Co., Ltd. (address: 114/2 Phan Đình Phùng, Phường 2, Bảo Lộc City, Lam Dong Province). The goods were declared as "Mixtures containing PolyBrominatted substances for industrial use".

Son Phu Nong Co., Ltd. is named by Ms. Phuong. Regarding the reason for changing the consignee, Ms. Phuong declared to the Customs that the change of the consignee was made at the request of the shipper (Shenzhen Pengliansheng Import & Export Trade Co., Ltd in China). All shipping charges and other related charges have been paid by Chinese shippers.

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According to the leader of Team 3, when the declaration distribution system imported plastic film shipments into the red channel, An Toc Company did not clear customs procedures, then had an agreement with a water sales partner. In addition to contacting shipping lines to change the consignee and open another declaration, at the same time change the declaration of goods names to avoid the declaration of the Red channel system. This shipment is under further investigation.

By Le Thu/Bui Diep