Vietnamese diplomat at UN accused of shipping alcohol home illegally

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Customs officers inspect products in the container. Photo credit: Tien Phong Customs officers inspect products in the container. Photo credit: Tien Phong

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Hai Phong customs have inspected a container sent by a Vietnamese diplomat from the US and found new products illegally declared as used items, allegedly to evade taxes. 
According to officers, the container was shipped to Tan Vu Port on January 11. Both the sender and the receiver was the same diplomat of the Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations in New York.
The diplomat's identity has not been revealed. Local media reported that he has recently finished his overseas term. 
Products in the container were declared as tariff-free “used movable assets,” including a motorbike and products for personal use. 
However, customs found a total of 1.5 tons of questionable goods, including around 500 whisky and wine bottles, nutrition powder and supplements. 
Speaking to the media at a press briefing on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Hai Binh said that it is legal for officials abroad to send back used products when their terms end.
“Our opinion is that every person has to follow current regulations. It cannot be concluded at the moment if this is a smuggling case or trade fraud because customs are inspecting,” he said.

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