A major-ranked border security officer from Cambodia has been detained for smuggling nearly 20 kilograms of gold into Vietnam.
Major Rim Ri Linh, 50, deputy chief of the border security office in Phnom Denk, Cambodia, has been arrested for transporting 19 kilograms of gold into the southern Vietnamese province of An Giang, Huynh Ngoc Ho, head of the Customs Department at the Tinh Bien Border Gate in An Giang, affirmed on Saturday evening.
The Cambodian officer dressed in his uniform drove his automobile from Cambodia to Vietnam on Friday evening and did not stop to finish paperwork regarding his immigration.
Customs officers at the border gate coordinated with provincial police to seize the suspect as he was heading to Tinh Bien District, An Giang.
The smuggled products included 18 24-karat gold bars worth over VND17 billion (US$753,563), officers said.
According to Major Linh’s statement, he had accepted the offer of a Cambodian man named Ti to transport the gold to a Vietnamese woman in Nha Bang Town.
The gold bars are kept at the police station. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The Cambodian major also admitted to committing thee other gold smuggling in November, with the exact amount remaining unclear.
During an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, a gold specialist stated that smuggled gold is often sold to local citizens or used to produce jewelry.
As gold prices have been high in Vietnam in the past years, many locals decided to buy smuggled gold instead.
The contraband precious metal is often melted into raw gold before being distributed to local gold shops and buyers.
According to the director of a Ho Chi Minh City-based gold company, gold distributed by major local firm SJC currently sells at VND35.71 million (US$1,582) per ounce while raw gold is offered at VND33 million ($1,462) per ounce.