SMUGGLING TRANSFORMED THROUGH GOODS IN TRANSIT: PART 1: RECKLESSLY BREAK SEALS AND TRANSPORT GOODS TO THE INLAND
VCN – Instead of transporting goods in the form of transit to export border gates to carry out the export procedures as prescribed, some enterprises have deliberately broken customs seals and transporting goods to the inland for consumption and tax evasion.
Used motorcycles and electronics hidden in the shipment in transit are discovered by the Customs Agency at Cat Lai port on 5 May 2017. Photo: T.H.
Many cases destroyed on the scene
From the end of 2016 to now, the Southern Customs Agencies have coordinated with competent authorities to detect and seize many goods in transit cases of deliberately breaking Customs seals to transport goods to the domestic market. By the end of 2016, the Customs Department of Ho Chi Minh City discovered many shipments of transit, which have cleared procedures from the border gate but not transported to export border gate.
A typical example was the case that the Trieu Hien Trade and Transport Service Co., Ltd (557B, Highway 13, Hiep Binh Phuoc Ward, Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City) opened the Customs declaration at the Tan Son Nhat airport Customs Branch to transit a shipment of 180 iPhones and iPhone 7 Plus to Cambodia through Moc Bai – Tay Ninh border gate. At Moc Bai border gate, the Customs suspected the shipment so that they conducted a physical inspection and discovered only one iPhone 7 and one iPhone 7 Plus phone and 16 more boxes of toothpaste, 2 boxes of shampoo. Thus, 178 iPhones and iPhones 7 have not been transited to Cambodia but have been illegally transported to Vietnam.
Regarding this case, the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department under General Department of Customs has prosecuted the criminal case and transferred the case’s file to the Investigation Police Agency under the Ho Chi Minh City Policy for further investigation and judgment.
According to the Customs control team of the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, abusing the exemption from physical inspection for goods in transit, some enterprises shall declare that goods are ordinary goods in transit but in fact, they are goods subject to licensing of competent authorities. Some enterprises abuse regulations on self-management and self-transportation of goods in transit through land border gates to transport to domestic market for consumption and tax evasion. Some shipments have just transported out of the port, enterprises have sought to withdraw the goods. Even enterprises after withdrawing the goods did not transport goods to the border.
Typically, the transportation declaration number 500050661061 of Binh Chanh International Import-Export Trade and Service Co., Ltd, the items declared as new 100% kitchen appliances, air conditioners, water heaters, water purifiers have been approved by the Saigon Port Zone 1 Customs Branch to transport to the border gate. However, enterprises did not transport the shipment to the Hoa Lu – Binh Phuoc border gate according to the declared route for export, but transport to the land for illegal consumption. Noteworthy, when verifying this enterprise’s business registration address, the Customs Control Team discovered that this was a bogus enterprise.
Not only the above case, earlier on 5 August 2016, from the signs of suspicion, the Customs Control Team under the Ho Chi Minh Customs Department tracked the transit shipment of transport declaration number 500050552120 by the T.A Logistics Co., Ltd, goods declared as cartons transported from Tan Cang – Hiep Phuoc to Moc Bai border gate- Tay Ninh. The Customs Control Team in collaboration with the Police Department of crimes related to economy and position under the Ho Chi Minh City Public Security discovered a truck transporting the container of goods in transit to the warehouse in Can Duoc – Long An. Through a quick query, the driver confessed that earlier, he transported the container of the transportation declaration No. 500050552120 to this warehouse and loaded the goods here, then inserted a carton layer into the container to transport to Moc Bai border gate for export to Cambodia.
Perpetrators changed directions
After consecutively detecting many cases of abusing of the transit goods through Cat Lai port for smuggling, the General Department of Vietnam Customs instructed the HCM City Customs Department to enhance the monitoring, inspection and coordination with the local Customs units to strictly control this route. However, after that, some perpetrators have changed direction to take advantage of transited goods through Cai Mep-Vung Tau port.
On 8 February 2017, the Moc Bai Border Gate Customs Branch (Tay Ninh Customs Department), the Southern Smuggling Control Team (Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation – General Department of Vietnam Customs) and Cai Mep port Customs Branch (Ba Ria – Vung Tau Customs Department) collaborated to conduct a physical inspection of a shipment in transit and discovered the smuggled goods worth about 8 billion. These goods belonged to the independent transport declaration of XITLO Logistics Co., Ltd (headquartered at Ward 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City), registered by Mr. Le Minh Phuong at the Cai Mep Port Customs Branch(Ba Ria-Vung Tau Customs Department) on 14 Janaury, 2017.
The shipment was transported to the Moc Bai border gate for export to Cambodia so that it was taken to the Customs supervision area of the Moc Bai Border Customs Branch on 17 January 2017, but no one came to make procedures for exports. Through the supervision, the Customs detected that the sea lead seals were broken and Customs seals had signs of forgery. Inspecting the shipment, the Customs discovered 1,257 bottles of perfume, 58 bottles of foreign wine, 607 iPhones, 100 Apple watches, 86 tablets of which origin was unknown.
Earlier, at the end of January 2017, the Investigation Police Department for Investigation of Economic and Corruption Crime (Ministry of Public Security) in collaborated with Binh Duong Public Security and Department of Anti-Smuggling and Investigation (General Department of Vietnam Customs) destroyed a smuggling route abusing the transhipment to transport smuggled goods into Vietnam.
This shipment was imported from Singapore through Cai Mep, transited in Vietnam and exported to Cambodia. However, when passing through Binh Duong area, the container was transported directly to the warehouse of a private enterprise (Binh Duong Avenue, Thuan An Township, Binh Duong Province) to cut the lead and get the goods and then loaded plastic buckets into the container. Conducting an on-site inspection, the competent agency discovered more than 1,000 foreign barrels, nearly 600 foreign milk packages and hundreds of sets ò pokers. The shipment’s owner was T.T. Trading Co., Ltd addressed in Ho Chi Minh City. All goods had no invoices with a total value of nearly 10 billion VND.
By Le Thu/ Huyen Trang