Smuggling on increase in Vietnam

| October 4, 2016

The Vietnam Tobacco Association (VTA) has called for changes to the law to enable the Vietnamese authorities to combat the increasing incidence of cigarette smuggling, according to a story in the Vietnam News.

“We suggest the government should amend the law to reduce the number of cigarettes that can be smuggled without attracting criminal charges from 1,500 to 500 packs,” said Phạm Kiến Nghiệp, general secretary of VTA.

The VTA says that the situation took a turn for the worse this year with smugglers recently attacking and killing an anti-smuggling official to retrieve contraband he had seized.

A 2009 government decree, the 2012 Tobacco Impact Prevention Law, and the 2014 Investment Law all prohibited sales of smuggled cigarettes.

But amendments to the criminal law last year were said to have diluted many provisions, causing difficulties in the fight against smuggling.

For example, before being amended, smuggling 1,500 packs of cigarettes was deemed to be a crime, but the amendments increased the number to 6,500 packs, or to a value of VNĐ100 million (US$4,500).

The News said that 90 percent of the cigarettes smuggled into Vietnam were Jet- and Hero-brand products, which have been available in Vietnam for more than 30 years and which are sold mostly in the southern and central regions.

They are said to be produced by Indonesia’s Sumatra Tobacco Trade Company, which sells them to, among other countries, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.

They are smuggled into Vietnam via border points such as Svayrieng in southern Long An Province and Bavet, Xà Xía and Mộc Bài in southern Tây Ninh Province.

Ninety percent of contraband cigarettes are said to pass through these border points.

Category: Breaking News

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