Customs boat crash kills cigarette smuggler in southern Vietnam

By An Nam   April 20, 2018 | 12:31 am PT
Customs boat crash kills cigarette smuggler in southern Vietnam
A file photo by Long An Police shows cigarettes seized from smugglers.
The incident took place when customs officers were chasing after smugglers on a river in the Mekong Delta.

A tobacco smuggler was killed in a crash following a boat chase between customs officers and his gang in the Vam Co Tay River in Long An Province, the province customs department said Friday.

Caught red handed by the customs in Kien Tuong Town on Tuesday night, a group of smugglers managed to escape by transferring all the cigarettes from their motorbikes to a motorboat and ran away.

Two officers subsequently jumped into another boat to chase after the smugglers and requested them to stop but they refused to follow the order.

During the chase, the customs boat hit the smugglers’ boat and caused the cigarettes to fall into the river.

As the gang continued their escape, the officers stopped to pick up more than 3,000 cigarette packs when they found the dead body of one smuggler.

Long An customs department has reported the case to higher authorities for further investigation.

Around 300 locals in Long An, which borders Saigon, involved in cigarette smuggling as of May last year, according to the province's official data.

Vietnam has 15.6 million smokers who spend VND31 trillion ($1.36 billion) buying cigarettes every year, a big market that helps drive the illegal trade of contraband tobacco.

Contraband tobacco results in a loss of VND7 trillion ($309 million) for Vietnam’s state budget, Nguyen Dinh Truong, head of the Tobacco Economic Technical Institute, said at a meeting more than a year ago.

The increasingly brazen practices of smugglers sometimes get unpreditable and dangerous.

go to top