Cops probed for abetting Viet kieu tax evasion

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Police in the southern province of Long An have placed two local officers and one resident under investigation for allegedly faking the residence status of overseas Vietnamese to help them evade taxes.

Tuoi Tre (youth) newspaper quoted investigators as saying that the forged permanent residence status allowed the Viet kieu to import  used cars without paying taxes.

Between June 2012 and January 2013, 14 Viet kieu's names were entered into local families' residence books by Phan Cong Bang, 47, dismissed chief of the Long Hiep Commune police division in Ben Luc District.

In return, he received VND4 million (US$188) from Nguyen Van Kich, 34.

Investigators said VND20 million ($940) was transferred to the officer's bank account on February 2 last year, but they had yet to identify where it came from.

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Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, another dismissed police officer in Long Hiep Commune, is also under investigation for involvement in the fraud.

His bank account received VND5 million ($235) also from an unidentified sender.

Seven of 14 cars imported by the Viet kieu have been cleared by customs and licensed for use in Vietnam, while many others are still being scrutinized by related agencies, according to police.

Under Vietnamese laws, many assets owned by Viet kieu, including cars, are exempted from import and value-added taxes.

However, in recent years, local media has reported that people abuse the regulation to bring in cars under Viet kieu names to evade taxes and resell them at a profit, prompting related agencies to tighten oversight.

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