Vietnam Border Control Works to Prevent the Smuggling of Firecrackers From Laos

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Residents of Vietnam have been quite successful at smuggling firecrackers across the border from Laos around the Se Pon river despite high security.

According to the higher-ups at the Lao-Bao border in Vietnam, the country has been seeing an increase in illegal goods trade as the Lunar New Year is around the corner. According to reports by the Vietnamese media, one of the primary contraband being smuggled is firecrackers. So, the regional border guard station has started deploying a patrol team to ambush such and detain individuals participating in them.

A box of firecrackers in Laos costs less than LAK 140,000 (roughly USD 8.12). However, in Vietnam, one box goes for more than double that amount at LAK 350,000-500,000 (approximately USD 20.29 – 28.98). Hence locals have been using innovative tactics, like concealing firecrackers under agricultural products and banana leaves to evade the attention of border guards.

Vice-Captain of the Quang Tri Border Guard Task Force on Drugs and Crime Prevention, Major Le Trung said that since there is a high-profit margin on firecrackers, people would do anything necessary to smuggle them from Laos into Vietnam.

The border traffic control is now working together with other relevant agencies to apprehend firecracker traffickers before and during the Lunar New Year on the National Highway No.9 route extending from the border to the local market.

Firecrackers seized after border guards stopped a local woman traveling from Laos | Photo credit: nhandan.com.vn

“It is just a few months until the Lunar New Year. My family is too miserable and poor. That is why I illegally transport firecrackers”, said a resident living in Tan Long Commune Vietnam’s Quang Tri Province.

Last month, Quang Tri border guards arrested two people attempting to illegally transport firecrackers across the Laos and Vietnam border. In the process, they discovered 80 boxes of firecrackers weighing 80 kilograms.

Tan Thanh Commune in Huong Hoa District is a big firecracker smuggling hub. Hence, patrol units usually go along the riverbed and organize ambushes along the trails and paths from midday to late afternoon to night.