VCN – In the recent times, suspecting some shipments in transit through Cai Mep port and Cai Lai port, Ho Chi Minh City, the Customs agencies including Southern Anti-smuggling Control Team (under the General Department of Vietnam Customs), the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Customs Department  inspected and detained tens of containers at the border gates.

smuggling transformed through goods in transit part 2 detaining immediately at border gates

Smuggled goods detected in the shipments in transit at Cai Mep port, Vung Tau. Photo: T.H

Major on banned items

The Customs authorities mostly inspect the shipments detected and detained at the border gates because shipping companies either denied the goods or did not operate at the business address. The banned goods are mainly electronic and refrigerated products subject to banned import and conditional transit.

On 5/5, at the Cat Lai port, Ho Chi Minh City, the Southern Anti-Smuggling Control Team (Team 3) under the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department has coordinated with the Sai Gon port zone 1 Customs Branch and the competent authorities to search two containers of transshipment and found out many smuggled goods and banned goods. According to the Team 3, the above two containers were transshipped from Japan to Vietnam then to Cambodia. When the shipments arrived at Cat Lai, the Team 3 has detected suspicious signs and monitor, supervise and search. Accordingly, detecting 2 containers of nearly 100 used motorcycles, used many office equipments and used amplifiers subject to the list of banned imports.

Earlier, at Cai Mep port (Ba Ria – Vung Tau), the Team 3 under the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department and Cai Mep border gate Customs Branch also suspected many shipments in transit, so that they searched and detected tens of containers of used electronic, refrigerated products and used motorcycles subject to banned import and conditional transit. In some cases, the smugglers also hide cars in the shipment in transit. Typically, in June 2016, searching a shipment in transit from Korea to Vietnam to be exported to Cambodia, the Saigon Port Zone 1 Customs Branch collaborated with the Team 3 under the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department to discovered 2 used cars inside and tens of use car engines. This shipment was transported by Foodbank company limited (located in 140/12 Le Duc Tho, Ward 6, Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City and included a container of 100% new fabric. According to the Customs Branch, these goods of the wrong declaration must have a license issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to be transited in accordance with law, but enterprise did not have this license, they disguised these goods as fabric.

Not only smuggled goods and banned goods disguised as goods transit through the sea, smugglers also take advantage of air routes to transit high-value shipments. Recently, by the end of April 2017 the, Tan Son Nhat International Airport Customs Branch has discovered a lot of medical equipment which was a used CT scanners which declared 100 % new exported products in the Customs declaration made by Bee Logistics Corporation in order to evade the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s licensing. This shipment consisted of 10 bales weighed 5.7 tons, worth over 3.2 billion vnd in the method of taking advantage of transit to export to Cambodia.

Full of tricks

In addition to the above tricks, some smugglers also took advantage of transit type subject to an exemption from physical inspection to transfer the type and re-export to Vietnam for consumption. Actually, the Customs found out some cases that initial receivers declared on the manifest were enterprises in Vietnam, but when the Customs or other competent authorities discovered signs of violations of Customs law and then inspected the goods, the enterprises did not come to the procedures, and then adjust receivers at Cambodia and other countries and implement the procedures for goods in transit.

Another fraudulent trick for goods in transit goods is that for shipments subject to conditional imports or banned goods, after they are transported out of Vietnam’s territory, enterprises will seek to bring them back Vietnam in many different methods such as subdivision shipment to transport to Vietnam through the trail, tracks, and two sub-gates; Or the enterprises which opened the declaration will abuse channel classification of inspection exemptions to re-import to Vietnam.

A case in point is that recently on 3 May 2017, the Bee Logistics Corporation (enterprise opened Customs declaration) completed Customs procedures for shipment of traditional medicines consisting 41 bales (nearly 500,000 pills) weighed nearly 1 ton, worth nearly 5 billion vnd in transit to transport to Cambodia through Moc Bai international border gate (Tay Ninh) and fulfilled the Customs procedures in accordance with regulations to transit this shipment through Vietnam border to Cambodia. Determining that this was a trick of enterprise to cheat competent authorities to illegally transport the above goods to Vietnam through cross-border trade, the Customs Branch conducted operational methods such as informing and collaborating with Police Department on Anti-Smuggling (C74) under the Ministry of Public Security to closely monitor the transport routes and discover that the shipment was illegally re-exported to Vietnam on the morning of 9 May, 2017 through trails at Moc Bai international border gate (Tay Ninh). The case is in process of further investigation.

According to the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Branch, the unit implemented over 2,800 declarations on average on a transform of transit type. The goods are mainly transited through 3 main border gates: Moc Bai (Tay Ninh) with over 2,000 declarations, Xa Mat (Tay Ninh) with nearly 400 declarations and Hoa Lu (Binh Phuoc) with over 350 declarations.

By Le Thu/ Huyen Trang



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.

smuggling transformed through goods in transit part 1 recklessly break seals and transport goods to the inland

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