Strong Punishment Needed to Stop Smuggling

9:56:24 AM | 12/29/2020

A company was prosecuted by the Customs Office of Saigon Port 1 - Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department and transferred to the police for investigation of illegally importing dozens of used video gaming machines. 

According to the Customs Office of Saigon Port 1, on June 19, 2019, Sun World Logistics Co., Ltd. (based in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City) registered customs declaration at the Customs Office of Saigon Port 1, importing MDF working desks levied preferential import duty of 25%. The declared value of over US$48 million.

On physical inspection, the Customs Office of Saigon Port 1 in coordination with the Southern Anti-Smuggling Control Team (Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department - General Department of Customs) discovered that the shipment contained 37 used video game machines with preferential import tax rate of 20%.

Customs authorities determined that the value of the shipment was nearly VND3 billion (62 times higher than the declared value) and the tax difference was over VND931 million

The Customs Office of Saigon Port 1 determined that Sun World Logistics Co., Ltd falsified product name and type, prohibited from import. As stipulated in Section 4, Part II, Appendix I of the Banned Import and Export List, issued together with Decree 69/2018/ND-CP dated May 15, 2018 of the Government, the company was imposed an administrative fine, a step for further investigation.

Working with customs authorities, Mr. Phan Van Thao, Director and legal representative of Sun World Logistics Co., Ltd, said that the company did not negotiate and sign the contract directly with foreign companies, but only accepted the order to import this shipment for a logistics service company in Australia. However, he said that he did not know the address of this company because he only contacted it via email and phone!

He added that, according to the initial notice of the logistics service company in Australia, the shipment was MDF working desks, not used arcade machines as the inspection result showed. This shipment was recommended by the Australian logistics service company to Sun World Logistics Company Limited to ship to Vietnam for delivery to a customer in Vietnam.

On December 11, 2020, the Customs Office of Saigon Port 1 decided to prosecute a criminal case of smuggling by Sun World Logistics Co., Ltd at Cat Lai Port and transferred the case file for further investigation to Ho Chi Minh City Police.

However, Sun World Logistics Co., Ltd had no idea of the name and address of that customer. After the shipment arrived in Vietnam, the foreign side gave specific notice of the recipient's name and address. The company is only responsible for the charter shipping to take service charges. The shipment payment was arranged by the Vietnamese buyer and the Australian counterpart themselves.

According to the Customs Office of Saigon Port 1, the shipment was declared for customs procedures and assigned the yellow flow system - exempted from physical inspection. But, when detecting signs of suspicion, the shipment was changed to the red channel where goods are inspected and violations were found. Sun World Logistics Co., Ltd failed to show the goods for inspection, avoided liability and dodged customs inspection.

The Customs Office of Saigon Port 1 sent an invitation letter, but only more than two months after the opening of the customs declaration did Sun World Logistics Co., Ltd send a representative to inspect the goods.

Based on the verification results, collecting evidence and initial investigation results, the Customs Office of Saigon Port 1 believed that the behavior of Sun World Logistics Co., Ltd showed signs of criminal violation: Smuggling as specified in Article 188 of the 2015 Penal Code.

Sun World Logistics Co., Ltd intentionally traded and transported goods prohibited from import into Vietnam; found ways to falsify declarations, bypassed customs offices to bring goods into the domestic market for illegal consumption and took a hugely defrauded tax difference.

By Hien Le, Vietnam Business Forum