Firecracker smugglers feel heat as Tet nears

As Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday approaches, firecracker smuggling is again "hot" in the border areas. Several tonnes have already been seized by customs authorities as they head across the border into Vietnam.


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Fire-crackers were detected in Hai Duong province recently.



Police, border guards and market managements in the central province of Quang Tri and Quang Binh provinces have been seizing tens of cases of Lao-made firecrackers.

On December 30, more than 150kg of fireworks were discovered in Quang Tri province’s Lao Bao township, according to border point officials.

Earlier, provincial police stopped a suspicious car in Vinh Linh district and discovered nearly 300kg of firecrackers.

The driver, Nguyen Tan Tan, 32, confessed that he bought the goods at Huong Hoa district of Quang Trị province to sell in Quang Binh province. 

Border guards also arrested two people for allegedly transporting 163kg of explosives for sale at A Ho village in Thanh commune on December 25. 

In Quang Binh province, police have seized more than 3.7 tonnes of different types of firecrackers. 

Smugglers are using more and more sophisticated tricks to transport banned products into Vietnam, said Colonel Phan Thanh Quang, head of Police Office in Huong Hoa district. 

The Government has banned firecracker production, trade and use since 1995. However, every year there are reports of illegal firecracker smuggling and subsequent accidents in the days ahead of the Tet holidays.

Colonel Quang said the Police Office also sent officials to hot spots such as Tan Long and Tan Thanh communes and Lao Bao township to encourage local residents to sign a commitment not to buy, sell or use firecrackers. 

In order to effectively prevent smuggling, they are co-ordinating with authorities in Laos to implement drastic measures, he said. 

Northern border provinces including Lang Son, Ha Giang and Quang Ninh are also hot spots for firecracker smuggling. 

Authorities in Lang Son province have discovered 134 cases involving 173 suspects and seized more than six tonnes of firecrackers.

Recently, provincial police seized 150kg of firecrackers transported by waterway from China to Vietnam and then by car and motorbike to the domestic market. 

Nguyen Xuan Tien, head of a provincial police patrol team, said smugglers used many tricks to hide the products, especially in passenger cars departing from Mong Cai city. 

In particular, Highway 18 was the road that smugglers often use to illegal transporting firecrackers from China, he said.

Smugglers from Quang Ninh and Bac Giang provinces are also known to get together to carry goods to Hai Duong province for selling, Tien said. 

On December 7, police in Hai Duong province discovered three smugglers transporting 183kg of firecrackers. 

On January 1, police and soldiers in Ha Giang province detected people transporting firecrackers in Meo Vac distict’s Xin Cai commune. They seized 58 casks containing 1.2 tonnes of foreign-made firecrackers.

According to the soldiers, this was the largest cache of firecrackers uncovered in the province. -VNA

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