Police in Da Lat City under Vietnam's Lam Dong Province has impounded many metric tons of potatoes without certificates of origin on their way to reach wholesale depots this weekend.
At midday on Saturday, Da Lat officials and police officers detected 29 metric tons of potatoes of ambiguous origin on a trailer truck on National Expressway No. 20.
A subsequent inspection revealed the shipment owner to be Le Thi Nhung, 47, from Dak Lak Province, while Le Anh Nhat, 32, who hails from the same province, is the truck driver.
The potato freight had entered Vietnam's Lao Cai Province from China, and was on its way to wholesale depots in Da Lat before being intercepted.
During the inspection, both the driver and cargo owner failed to present any proof of purchase for the freight.
Later on, the driver was escorted to a local COVID-19 quarantine center, as the negative result he obtained after a quick coronavirus test was no longer valid.
As per Lam Dong’s regulations on coronavirus control and prevention, inter-provincial drivers must present negative COVID-19 test results before they enter the province.
The province only accepts rapid test results issued within three days earlier, whereas real-time RT-PCR tests can stay valid for up to five days after issuance.
|Trailer trucks are pulled over for inspection in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: Dam Trong / Tuoi Tre|
Da Lat police also scrutinized a vehicle that accompanied Nhat’s truck, but they did not find anything suspicious as it was carrying onions with legitimate certificates of origin.
The potato freight has been seized for further inspection on its origin and food safety.
In recent years, Vietnam has discovered an increasing quantity of potato smuggled to Da Lat, one of the country’s biggest grocery hubs, from China.
The contraband will then be distributed to surrounding provinces and Ho Chi Minh City under the guise of authentic Da Lat crops.
The smuggling is particularly prevalent from June to November, which is the downtime for potato production in Da Lat.
Pesticide residues have been found in the majority of Chinese potato products sneaked into Da Lat.