Nguyen Tat Linh (L), 38, listens as a police officer reads aloud his arrest warrant for allegedly smuggling dozens of cars and motorbikes from Cambodia into Vietnam / PHOTO COURTESY OF DONG THAP ONLINE NEWSPAPER
Two customs officers in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap were among four people suspected of importing a dozen of cars and motorbikes under Viet kieu names to evade VND8 billion (US$374,800) in taxes.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported on Monday that Dong Thap police had filed dereliction of duty charges against Ly Vinh Hoa, 43, and Nguyen Minh Thien, 36, both officers with the Dinh Ba Border Gate customs agency.
Police also proposed smuggling charges against Nguyen Tat Linh, 38, and charges of “consuming properties that others acquire by illegal means” against Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, 57, a notary public.
According to police’s findings, when Linh was driving a Toyota with a Ho Chi Minh-licensed number plate in Cao Lanh Town last January, police pulled him overt o check his personal papers and the car’s documentation.
The car’s papers showed that it belonged to a Vietnamese-Cambodian named Nguyen Van Hong, who had registered it at his permanent residence in Vietnam.
However, police found that while the car was imported as property of Hong and was thus exempt from import and value-added taxes, the Viet kieu had actually not immigrated to Vietnam.
They said Linh bought the car in Cambodia and then asked Hong to register it under his name before handing it over to him at the border gate.
As of the time of his arrest, Linh had illegally imported six cars and six motorbikes under Vietnamese-Cambodians’ names, causing a total tax loss of over VND8 billion, the newspaper quoted police as saying.
Police said Hoa and Thien allowed Linh to sign papers to import the vehicles, even though the Viet kieu, whose names were stated in the papers, were not present.
Thanh notarized the letters of authorization that permitted Linh to import the vehicles on behalf of the Viet kieu without the latter’s presence, as well as four car sale contracts totaling nearly VND4 billion between Viet kieu and other people without the involved parties’ presence.
Police said Linh faked signatures to sign all the papers.
Vietnamese authorities have been tightening their oversight of vehicle imports by Viet kieu in recent years after local media reported that people were abusing tax exemption rules to bring in cars and motorbike under overseas Vietnamese’s names to evade taxes and resell them at a profit.
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