Vietnam cracks down on smuggling of medical supplies

06:00 | 23/04/2020 Society

(VEN) - The complicated development of the Covid-19 pandemic in Vietnam and many other countries worldwide has resulted in increased demand for medical materials, especially facemasks, leading to illegal transportation and smuggling of these products in border areas.

vietnam cracks down on smuggling of medical supplies

Many cases of illegal transportation of medical materials and facemasks have been detected

Since the coronavirus disease outbreak, the demand for facemasks, rubber gloves and thermometers has increased rapidly. Smugglers have taken advantage of the scarcity of these kinds of goods to push prices up for illegal profits.

In Lao Cai Province on Vietnam’s northern border with China, state authorities in February seized hundreds of thousands of medical facemasks and arrested numerous people involved in illegal transportation and smuggling as well as labeling violations. The suspects purchased medical materials and transported to Hekou, China, selling each box of 50 facemasks at a price of about VND650,000 and earning high profits.

Similarly, in the city of Mong Cai in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh, authorities seized nearly 50,000 facemasks illegally transported across the border to China in February.

Recently, the Market Surveillance Department of An Giang Province seized more than 41,000 medical facemasks prior to their illegal transportation to Cambodia. Smugglers bought these facemasks in Vietnam for about VND160,000 per box for sale in Cambodia at a price of more than VND510,000.

Smugglers often stock up on medical supplies in areas near the border and illegally transport them at night through various tracks, shortcuts and canals.

The National Steering Committee for Combating Smuggling, Commercial Fraud and Counterfeit Goods (National Steering Committee 389) has intensified activities to prevent illegal cross-border transportation, focusing on enhancing the capacity of specialized anti-smuggling forces and upgrading technical equipment. Inspections and controls of sensitive goods have been increased.

In border provinces, patrols and controls have also been tightened with support of customs and border guard forces to prevent smuggling of medical materials and facemasks. Public security and market surveillance forces as well as local authorities have maintained coordination to detect and deal with illegal accumulation, transportation and sale of medical supplies.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs requested the Customs Departments of border provinces to establish specialized working groups to assist import, export activities and contribute to the prevention of Covid-19 spread.

Nguyen Mai