A large backlog of scrap containers at the Cat Lai port in HCM City as several enterprises who were supposed to receive the shipment failed to show up, causing concerns that ports would become junkyard (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - A number of large-scale smuggling cases employing sophisticated methods have recently challenged the country’s customs agency.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs said that it seized four imported containers consisting of new automotive parts but were labelled as containing scrap.

The owner of the containers was named as Posco SS Vina Co Ltd, located at the Phu My 2 Industrial Park in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau, the Kinh te do thi (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper reported.

The company began customs declaration procedures on September 14 to import the goods at Cai Mep International Port’s Customs Division. Under the declaration, the goods were detailed as scrap in 5 containers, with a total weight of over 122 tonnes. The containers were transported from Australia to Vietnam on September 11. The goods were bought via Stamcorp International PTE.LTD.

However, the customs division checked and found new automotive parts hidden in three containers.

The company opened another customs declaration on September 26 to import an additional 10 scrap containers via Stamcorp International PTE.LTD. The customs division found one other container consisting of new automotive parts.

The division decided to seize the four containers and hold the new automotive parts for investigation.

Another smuggling case was uncovered by Noi Bai International Airport’s Customs Division, in which 1,157 iPhones, including iPhone Xs Max and iPhone Xs, were smuggled via the airport in late September.

The owner of the smartphones was identified as VAK Co Ltd, located in Nguyen Trai street, Hanoi’s Thanh Xuan district.

According to the investigation, the goods were wrapped in 40 packages and the company did not declare the shipment at customs. After the case was reported by local media, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh ordered relevant agencies to quickly investigate.

Data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that it had dealt with 12,069 violations in the first nine months of this year, contributing more than 240 billion VND (10.3 million USD) of fines to the State budget.

Head of the department Nguyen Van Can said diverse activities of importing and exporting goods in every locality across the country led to a risk that violations could occur in many areas.

The goods were not only smuggled goods but also goods that could harm community safety and violate intellectual property rights, he said.

Can added that the department had already taken a series of measures to curb the situation. The measures included applying information technology as well as installing modern equipment to better manage goods imported or exported via sea ports or border gates.

The department also directed its units to closely keep track of the nation’s crime trends and make prompt analysis to prevent smuggling cases, he said.

It tasked the units to mainly focus on prohibited goods such as ivory, pangolin scales and drugs.

Head of the department’s Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department Nguyen Phi Hung said the department had attempted to discover and deal with large-scale smuggling cases.

For example, in late 2017, the department uncovered over 200 containers were missing after being transported from HCM City’s Cat Lai Port to Cambodia in the middle of 2015.

The containers were found to not have been exported to Cambodia as scheduled in the customs declaration. They were actually transported to Vietnamese localities for consumption. Some customs staff were allegedly involved in the case. The agency sent the case to the Ministry of Public Security for further investigation.-VNA