Prior to every Tet Lunar New Year festive season, which this year falls on February 10, hundreds of cases of firecrackers are seized by customs authorities at border gates from China, as they make their way into Vietnam.
Police, border guards and market managers in the northern province of Lao Cai have been seizing tens of cases of Chinese-made smuggled firecrackers since early this year.
Particularly on January 10, nearly one ton of Chinese made firecrackers were discovered in Bao Thang District, according to information given by Nguyen Ba Binh, head of Lao Cai Market Management Board.
Recently, the traffic police stopped a suspicious bus and discovered six large bags containing cartons of firecrackers weighing about 150 kilograms. After examining the firecrackers, police concluded that they had been manufactured in China and illegally brought into Vietnam.
The entire consignment has been seized and police are further investigating the case.
Smuggling of firecrackers across border crossings is very complex and price of firecrackers is very cheap in China and smugglers earn 20 times more by selling in Vietnam. For instance, firecrackers are sold for VND20,000-70,000-120,000 a kilogram in China but fetch VND350,000-400,000 per kilogram in Vietnam. As a result, many people are involved in this illegal activity.
The Vietnamese government has banned firecracker production, trade and use since 1995, but in many parts of China, the practice is legal. As a routine, firecrackers are now brought in from China into Vietnam’s northern provinces.
People in Thai Binh, Nam Dinh and Hai Phong Provinces in the North recently set off firecrackers on New Year’s Eve.