QUANG NINH (VNS)— Authorities in the northern province of Quang Ninh say they are struggling to deal with a marked spike in cross-border smuggling of all kind of goods including drugs, liquor, meat and rare wood.
"From February 16 to March 15, we recorded 25 cases of smuggling of goods valued at about VND1.17 billion (US$55,000). This is an increase of more than 56 per cent over the same period last year," Le Manh Tung, a provincial Customs Department official told Viet Nam News.
In the first quarter of the year, nearly 3kgs of heroin and over 2,700 ecstasy pills were seized by local customs officials.
They also uncovered more than 40 cases of cross-border smuggling on land and through waterways in the first quarter, seizing contraband goods including large quantities of tobacco, wine, cosmetics, electronic products, valuable and rare wood as well as seafood worth nearly VND3 billion ($142,000).
Since the beginning of the year, 100 kilograms of roast ducks and 2,000 pigeons have been seized as they were being smuggled into Viet Nam, according to the provincial Customs Department.
"We have met a lot of difficulties in cracking down on smugglers because of the tough terrain involved. Smugglers usually carry goods across many paths near highways 1A and 4B and use small trucks to transport contraband goods to domestic markets for consumption," Tung said.
He said the Customs Department would co-operate with local authorities to step up the fight against smuggling of fake goods and other forms of trade fraud.
They would also step up efforts to prevent the smuggling of poultry, given the threat of avian flu epidemics in the country, he added.