Smuggling Covid-19 test kits, medicine rampant in market

The functional agencies of many localities over the last two months have discovers several cases of trading Covid-19 test kits and drugs without any valid labels or invoices. These merchandise pieces were imported to Vietnam from different countries with an increasing quantity day after day.

The shipment of over 85,000 Covid-19 quick test kits illegally imported from the Republic of Korea to Vietnam on February 17.

Market Management Team No.2 (under the Quang Ninh Province Department of Market Management) has just cooperated with Traffic Police Team No.3 (under the Quang Ninh Province Department of Public Security) to inspect a 7-seat minivan with the license plate of 88A-400.08 on National Highway No.18A.

They have discovered 1,500 Covid-19 quick test kits imported from China with no valid documents. The van driver, Phung Gia Long from Kim Long Commune of Vinh Phuc Province, admitted that these kits were ordered online from an unknown source located in Mong Cai City (Quang Ninh Province). All the goods, worth VND94 million (US$4,100), have no legal invoice or documents.

The Thai Nguyen Province Department of Market Management reported that since the beginning of March, it has detected and fined 6 cases of Covid-19-related product smuggling, including 87 medicine packs and 2,000 test kits worth VND130 million ($5,700) in total.

A similar situation could be found in Hanoi. Recently, Market Management Team No.17 (under the Hanoi Market Management Department) has collaborated with the Economic Police Division (under the Hanoi Public Security Department) to check a business premise at the address of 115 Trung Phung Street in Dong Da District.

The site, owned by Nguyen Thi Ngan Ha (born in 1992), was discovered to sell over 3,000 products to treat Covid-19. All of them had no valid invoice nor related legal documents, and with no clear Vietnamese instruction. They were bought from unknown online sources.

Chi Ma Border Gate Customs Division in Lang Son Province has also detected an unclaimed shipment on their patrol. The shipment includes 1,600 Covid-19 test kits from China.

Reports from the General Department of Vietnam Customs reveal that smuggling medicines to Vietnam has become worse since the beginning of this year. The most noticeable ones are two cases of illegal transport of Covid-19 medicine (14,650 pills of ‘Arbidol’ and ‘Areplivir’) to Vietnam from Russia. They were discovered by the Customs Division of Cam Ranh – Khanh Hoa International Airport.

The Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department (under the General Department of Vietnam Customs) has just worked with the Hanoi Customs Department to capture a shipment of over 85,000 Covid-19 quick test kits from the Republic of Korea, worth VND8 billion ($346,000) illegally transported to Vietnam via Noi Bai International Airport.

Due to the surge of Covid-19 patients in Vietnam lately, the demands for test kits and medicine have risen remarkably, leading to various smuggling cases of Covid-19-related medical products for profit. These merchandise pieces have no clear origin and quality warranty.

It is forecast that in the upcoming time, this smuggling situation will still be complicated, especially in bordering localities.

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