The Quang Ninh provincial administration has punished a number of officials for allowing smuggling to persist along the Chinese border.
The punishments were issued at the behest of Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Nguyen Van Doc, chairman of the Quang Ninh People’s Committee told Deputy PM Phuc on Tuesday that the provincial government has reminded local police, border guards, market management authorities, customs officers and anti-smuggling officials of their responsibilities and transferred a number of officials to other posts due to their dereliction of duty.
Phuc ordered the Quang Ninh government to reshuffle the departments following a central-level bust that yielded over 100 tons of smuggled Chinese goods last month.
On the morning of November 2, officers from the Ministry of Public Security raided a series of locations in Quang Ninh’s Mong Cai Town.
The officers seized 12 boats used to smuggle goods down a river that crosses from China into Vietnam.
The boats delivered over 100 tons of fabric, second-hand clothing, cosmetics and electronics to trucks that dropped them off at three spots in Mong Cai.
The police then raided the cargo holds of seven trucks and seized everything inside them.
Police traced the illegal haul to a Mong Cai smuggler named Luu Van Thang whom police say also serves as a regional distributor.
Over 10 suspects have already been arrested as the police investigation proceeds.
According to the National Steering Committee on Anti-Smuggling and Trade Fraud, the seizure highlighted the fact that Quang Ninh authorities have fallen idle in the fight against smuggling, which has grown rampant throughout the province.
The officials who have already been punished may face stricter penalties after higher authorities finish investigating whether the officials “protected” the smugglers or not.