Hundreds of used home electronics banned from import found in containers at Cat Lai Port in HCM City. (Photo: VNA)
 
HCM City (VNA) - Evidence of smuggling has been uncovered at two major ports in Ho Chi Minh City, with prohibited goods found in several containers left unclaimed during the past month.

A container of 95 air conditioners, 279 used bicycles missing several parts and three motorbikes was discovered by customs officials at the Sai Gon Port’s Area 1 at the beginning of April, the Hai Quan (Customs) newspaper reported. They are all goods banned from import.

Prior to that, a container of 271 used air conditioners and 26 used refrigerators worth some 1.7 billion VND (74,600 USD) was discovered at Cat Lai Port. It was addressed to HTP Import-Export Trading Company Ltd located in the northern province of Bac Ninh, but the company refused to claim the goods because they “never ordered” them.

However, investigations from customs officials showed that the company was listed as the recipient in the manifest of the ship the goods were in, and the items found in the container matched those listed in the manifest.

This indicated smuggling, according to the port’s customs officials. The case has been transferred to the investigation police of HCM City.

Some 200 other containers filled with goods banned from import have been left unclaimed at the Cat Lai Port for more than 90 days. Investigations are underway.

Apart from common banned goods, thousands of containers of imported scrap and metallic waste have also been left unclaimed at the port.

Alarmed by the situation, officials from the HCM City Customs Department have applied measures to prevent non-standard scrap from being imported into Vietnam by dishonest customs declarations.  

The department’s Customs Control Team discovered that several enterprises had successfully imported non-standard scrap to the country without import permits. One of their tricks is to list the scrap as “used plastic films” in the manifest, and present a customs declaration for used plastic films to claim the scrap when it arrives at the port.

On the massive amount of scrap imported into Vietnam, Pham Quang Nam, the team’s vice captain, said that it is nearly impossible to return non-standard scrap and metallic waste to exporting countries since they are low-value goods, and some enterprises in Vietnam were even paid to import them.

“Trying to destroy them in Vietnam would create negative impacts on the environment,” he added. “This is a major obstacle for customs agencies in preventing ‘trash’ to be imported to the country.”

Le Dinh Loi, Deputy Director of the HCM City Customs Department, said that shipping carriers should take responsibility for what they carry.

“They shouldn’t be shipping goods from one country to another then leave them there without knowing who would come to get them,” he said. -VNA