Customs officials in Ho Chi Minh City Friday destroyed 18 tons of poppy seeds that were illegally imported by a Singapore-based company
Kdy Pte Ltd, the importer, was also fined VND20 million (US$1,025) for faking documents about the import, according to the Vietnam Customs.
On October 13, 2008 the company brought the shipment into Vietnam from Turkey and claimed that they intended to re-export the 18 tons of plant seeds for food production.
However, an inspection then discovered that the sacks contained nothing but opium poppy seeds used to plant poppies which are illegal in Vietnam.
The destroyed shipment amounted to some half of the world's annual output, customs said.
Vietnam's Supreme Prosecutorial Office said they couldn't file criminal charges against company officials because the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 does not specifically identify the seeds as a narcotic.
Under Vietnamese law, only the unopened buds of the poppy flower are instrumental in synthesizing the drug.
Poppy seeds, meanwhile, aren't named in Vietnam's list of agriculture seeds, or the list of goods banned from being imported into Vietnam, the office claimed.