Tien Phong reporters, made a recent fact-finding trip to learn how smuggled goods are carried to Vietnam.
They departed from Vinh Nguon Commune in Vietnam’s Chau Doc town in An Giang province, crossed a rice field and then set foot in Cambodia, in areas of “cemetery goods” the name given to second hand goods by Vietnamese smugglers.
The reporters could see a huge range of goods available here, footwear products, helmets and even electronics
The price of a Toshiba laptop that was sold “deaf and dumb” (buyers were not allowed sample the products before buying) was 1.2-1.8 million dong only. The buyers were all Vietnamese.
After making deals, goods are packed into big parcels and then put on motorbikes which then drive to Chau Doc town. Some batches are carried by boats to Vietnam through Vinh Te canal.
On the area near Vinh Xuong border gate, one would sometimes see groups of motorbikes with big parcels of goods speeding to Tan Chau and Phu Tan. Some motorbikes carried sugar and Thai rice, while others carried cosmetics and old clothes.
On Bay Xa canal, a lot of boats heading from Kaomsano in Cambodia were seen docking to provide goods. Consumer goods, liquor and tobacco were all at very cheap prices. Made in Cambodia tobacco was priced at 2,00-4,000 dong per pack only, while counterfeit liquor, with well known brand names, were priced at 100,000 dong per bottle.
At night, it was even noisier than in the daytime on the stretch of river in Khanh An Commune in An Giang province as the river received many boats from Prekchray, Cambodia carrying smuggled goods.
“More Thai sugar is coming these days, because the domestic price is increasing,” one porter said
Flooding Vietnam’s markets
The booths at Xuan To market in An Giang province were full of fabric, ready made clothes, cosmetics, footwear and handbags, confectionary and jams which are sourced from Thailand and China
The location is well known to many tourists. Therefore, smuggled goods can easily find buyers here. On a weekend, the market receives up to 5,000 visitors a day
“The goods here are dirt cheap and good, therefore, I like traveling there and purchasing some products as gifts for parents and relatives,” said Truong Thi Anh from Dong Nai province.
Many wholesalers take goods from there to resell in big cities. They place orders first, pay money via bank accounts and goods are then carried to the given addresses.
Similarly, other markets on the border areas were also full of smuggled goods.
In particular, Chau Doc town has an area which specializes in trading ‘cemetery clothes’. Every day, tens tonnes of second hand clothes cross the border line to be available later at Vietnam’s markets.