VCN- Incorrectly declaring the name of the goods and breaking luggage seals to conceal prohibited goods are the tricks that perpetrators have used to smuggle cosmetics from abroad to Vietnam.

illicit cosmetic products of billions of vnd are detected
Illicit goods were seized by Customs officers. Photo: Q.H.

Upon the Official Telegraph No. 90 / CD-BCD of 13th July 2015, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has identified pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and supplementary foods as items on the list of key commodities to be strictly controlled. Thereby, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has requested the units to strengthen Customs control measures, promote international cooperation and inter-sectoral coordination to prevent violations in import, smuggling activities, illegal transportation of pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, supplementary foods as well as timely handling smuggling rings.

In order to concretize these instructions, the Customs force at all level shall strictly follow the process and procedures to closely inspect and supervise the shipments of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and supplementary foods, and at the same time, collect and analyze information on suspicious import consignments, thereby determining the criteria, risk management, flow control and conducting actual inspections of high-risk shipments. In addition, the Customs force also needs to strengthen control at the border gates and areas of Customs operation, especially in the northern and southwestern border provinces. On the other hand, the Customs force has regularly coordinated with local authorities to fight, arrest and timely handle violations related to pharmaceutical products, cosmetics and supplementary food.

Throughout the struggle, the Customs force has detected dozens of violations related to pharmaceutical products, cosmetics and supplementary food on both land border and air. Notably, the situation of taking advantage of doing business in transit, forging Customs dossiers to smuggle cosmetics tends to increase, with many cases worth up to billions of vnd.

Typically, on 7th January 2017, the Customs Branch of Moc Bai Border Gate received the declaration of independent transportation (transit goods) of XITLO Logistics Co., Ltd (located in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. ). The above shipment belonged to Customs declaration No. 500070700330 of 14th January 2017, container number OOLU 1937805 registered at the Customs Branch of Cai Mep port through Moc Bai border gate (Tay Ninh province). According to the Customs declaration of the company, the goods were household goods, including Kitchen shelves, kitchen floor mats, new 100%. The time of commencement of transportation from Cai Mep port was 14th January 2017 and the estimated time to Moc Bai border gate was 15th January 2017. However, on 17th January 2017, Mr. Le Phuong Minh (the representative of the company) transported goods to the supervisory area for Customs clearance at Moc Bai border gate. When Customs officers at Moc Bai border gate conducted procedures and process for the shipment, Mr. Minh was not present and left the goods behind. The shipment showed signs of breaking the seal of the shipping line and fake Customs seal. Accordingly, on 8th February 2017, the Customs force carried out physical inspections of the shipment and detected a large number of perfume, foreign wine and cigars which were worth about 8 billion vnd.

illicit cosmetic products of billions of vnd are detected

Then, on 17th February 2017, the Luggage Import Procedure Team (under the Customs Branch of Noi Bai International Airport – the Hanoi Customs Department) inspected and seized 32 parcels of cosmetics on a flight from Korea to Vietnam without any recipient, weighing 933.6 kg.

Not only did perpetrators deceive Customs officers through Customs declaration, but they also found many ways to smuggle cosmetics through the northern border area, especially the border province of Quang Ninh, including: Hair cream, shampoo and perfume which were detected by Customs officers on vehicles, trucks, even mixed with imported goods. In some cases, cosmetics were also gathered right near the border, so when the Customs officers seized illicit goods, they found it difficult to identify the owner.

For example, on 13th April 2017, the Customs Working Team – Border Guard at Bac Phong Sinh border gate discovered a man using hand carts to transport imported goods which were packed in cartons from China to Bac Phong Sinh, including 288 Aprilskin facial powder boxes; 1,920 Theskinface Lipsticks. Through the investigation, the owner of the illicit goods was identified as Mr. Bui Van Nam, born in 1997 (residing in An Tho, An Lao, Hai Phong). All goods had no legal documents in the area of Customs operation.

By Quang Hung/ Hoang Anh