​Customs officers nabbed for illegal import of over 200 shipping containers in Saigon

A total of 213 containers were illegally imported into Ho Chi Minh City in 2015

Trucks carry shipping containers out of the Cat Lai Port in Ho Chi Minh City on July 17, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Two customs officers in Ho Chi Minh City have been arrested for their involvement in the illegal importation of 213 shipping containers at a local port in mid-2015.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs confirmed in a press release on Monday that Nguyen Van Lam and Tran Thanh Tung, who work under the Customs Department of Ho Chi Minh City, had been apprehended by anti-corruption police units.

Lam, a public servant at the Saigon Port’s customs office, was detained on Saturday last week for abusing his authority to allow several individuals to import prohibited shipments into Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Hung, a public servant at the express customs branch who previously worked for the Saigon Port’s customs office, was nabbed on August 25 for his intentional oversight leading to serious consequences.

According to the case file, a total of 213 shipping containers of 56 businesses were registered as a transit shipment at the Cat Lai Port, a section of the Saigon Port, in mid-2015.

The goods were then said to have been transported by land to Cambodia.

Although the containers departed Cat Lai Port, they never arrived in Cambodia, and their information disappeared from the database.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs later discovered the incident and requested an investigation.

A probe revealed that several public servants from the Saigon Port’s customs unit had not followed protocol in the management of the shipments.

Investigators also found that all 56 businesses had ceased operations or given incorrect addresses.

The Ho Chi Minh City customs department has been ordered to impose stern punishment upon the individuals responsible for the violations.

According to a source close to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, aside from Lam and Tung, other public servants in charge of shipping management at the Cat Lai Port claimed that they had not been involved in the offense.

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