Alarming situation of smuggling via social networks


alarming situation of smuggling via social networks
Violated goods in the case discovered by Fleet 1. Photo: T.Bình

Two ships transporting smuggled goods turned around?

Implementation of the patrol plan and plan on preventing the transportation of prohibited goods, counterfeit goods of origin, goods infringing intellectual property rights and illegal transshipment, on March 31, Fleet 1 (The Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department, General Department of Vietnam Customs) detected, inspected and seized two wooden ships carrying tens of tonnes of contraband goods.

At 14:50 on March 31, on the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, the working group was led by the Fleet 1 and worked with the Van Gia Port Customs Branch (Quang Ninh Customs Department) and Tra Co Border Post (Quang Ninh Border Defence force) to discover that a motorised wooden ship without license plate was transporting goods.

Via preliminary inspection it was found that Pham Van Hung (was born in 1992, address: Vinh Trung, Mong Cai, Quang Ninh) is the driver and Pham Van Hieu (was born in 1992, address: Vinh Trung, Mong Cai, Quang Ninh).

On the wooden ships, there were cartons and sacks containing goods inside including: electronic components, computer components, cosmetics, clothes with foreign labels and sewing machines.

At the time of inspection, two crew members were unable to present papers, invoices and documents related to the vehicle and goods transported via the vehicle.

Then, at 15:20, on March 31, in the Gulf of Tonkin under Vietnamese sovereignty, a working group led by the Fleet 1st worked with the Van Gia Port Customs Branches and Tra Co Border Post discovered, checked another wooden ship which also lacked a license plate.

At the time inspection, there were three people who claimed to be Tran Van Ninh (born in 1978, address: Vinh Thuc, Mong Cai, Quang Ninh), Hua Van Tap (was born in 1999, address: Vinh Thuc, Mong Cai, Quang Ninh) and Bui Van Nam (was born 1982, address: Hiep Hoa, Quang Yen, Quang Ninh).

Through preliminary inspection and declaration of crew members, this ship was found to be transporting cartons, foam boxes and bags inside containing many different items such as: motorcycle parts, electronic components, dried fish, clothes and cosmetics.

At the inspection time, three crew members on board were unable to present any invoices or documents proving the legal origin of the goods being transported via the vehicle.

The working group requested the crew to take the two vehicles and goods to the wharf of Fleet 1 for verification.

On April 2, at the wharf of the Fleet 1, the unit carried out a detailed examination of the goods on the two wooden ships.

Notably, according to reporters, at the scene, when opened for inspection, many packages with the names of the recipients were recorded in many localities throughout the country and ordered via social networks, even through well-known e-commerce channels.

The case is being expended for investigation by the Customs authority. However, according to some officials with direct experience in handling the case, it is likely the two wooden ships were transporting infringing goods back to China. Because this number of goods was placed earlier but when they were brought to Vietnam, nobody received the goods.

On some packages, officials noticed that the delivery time was from the end of 2020 and the reason for the return is that the order was not received and did not listen to the phone.

Rampant sale of contraband and counterfeit goods on social networks

When there is demand, there must be supply. The trade of contraband goods in the form of online through e-commerce, especially social networks like Facebook, is like “mushrooms growing after rain”.

In the past few days, a series of large-scale warehouses containing counterfeit and unknown goods of famous brands like Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, Adidas, LV, Zara and Hermes was successfully closed by the General Department of Market management in many provinces and cities in the north.

On March 17, Working group 368 of the General Department of Market Management worked with the Market Management Department of Nam Dinh and PC 03 – Nam Dinh Provincial Police raided the storage of counterfeit goods branded Hermes, LV and Chanel at the address of Dai Lai village, Vinh Hao commune, Vu Ban district, Nam Dinh province.

Through inspection, the 500-square-metre warehouse stocked tens of thousands of products that were mainly forged bags with Hermes brand (a luxury fashion house based in Paris, France). When competent forces checked, the warehouse representative could not present documents proving the legal origin of the goods.

It was estimated that up to 20,000-30,000 infringing products were stored there. Most of goods were handbags which were fake brands such as Hermes, LV, Chanel. Competent forces have to use up to 10 trucks type of 3.5 tonnes to move all violated goods at this warehouse. The infringing shipment was estimated to be worth about VND 6 billion.

On March 29, Market Management Team No. 16, Market Management Department of Hanoi worked with the Economic Police Team, the Police of Long Bien District to check the 100 m2 warehouse at house number 30, lane 56, alley 139 Thach Cau, Long Bien, Hanoi City. Here, competent forces seized thousands of fake fashion footwear products of famous brands Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, Adidas, LV, Zara and Hermes.

Obviously, it is not difficult to say the seized goods are counterfeit, because these famous brands always sell products in reputable shopping malls, and products cost from a few hundred to tens thousand USD.

According to the competent authorities, the common point of the cases is that the transactions are done mainly via online channels, especially Facebook.

The use of social networks to smuggle and trade in counterfeit goods and unknown origin of goods causes many difficulties for competent forces. For example, a case in Nam Dinh took up to six months for authorities to investigate and follow up to successfully detect and destroy.

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