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Mar 28, 2023 / 21:26

Business executives to face disciplinary action for failure to stop smuggling activities

Recent arrests of Vietnamese flight attendants for carrying undeclared goods and drugs require drastic action.

Airline officials will face severe disciplinary action if illegal drug and merchandise trade is reported under their jurisdiction, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam.

Passengers wait in line for registration and luggage check at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City. Photo: Huy Hung/The Hanoi Times

The action is under the authority's Directive 1480/CT-CHK to prevent flight attendants and ground staff from illegally importing drugs and goods into the country, the authority said in a March 27 website notice.

Aviation companies must improve education and training so that employees are aware of the harm and negative impact of smuggling on the nation and domestic economy, the authority added.

"They also need to continue to screen those being employed. All those involved in flying must follow the rules," it said.

All flight attendants and pilots must have their belongings checked before and after the flight and the authority said that any violation would be strictly dealt with according to the existing rules.

The national aviation regulator said that after any incident, the aviation company must hold a meeting with its employees to discuss the issue and review and correct the procedure if necessary.

In addition, all persons and their belongings entering the restricted area without permission are subject to further inspection by airport security personnel.

Four Vietnam Airlines flight attendants were caught carrying 11.2 kilograms of drugs on March 16. The flight attendants will be subject to aviation disciplinary rules and sent home for further investigation.

"The arrest has raised public concern about the safety of all flights, as the case is a demonstration of the lack of timely implementation of drastic measures," the authority said in the directive.

It also proves that cabin crews do not have a good understanding of the anti-smuggling regulations as set out in the authority's Directive 2677/CT-CHK, dated June 20, 2022, the CAA said.

In May, nine Vietnam Airlines flight attendants were detained by the Australian Airport Authority for carrying more than AU$60,000 (US$40,134) in cash out of the country without declaring, according to the CAA.

Task force set up

The National Steering Committee 389 has set up a special inter-ministerial team to combat air smuggling.

According to the decision recently signed by Mr. Ho Duc Phoc, Minister of Finance and Deputy Director of Committee 389 (an anti-smuggling and contraband agency), the team consists of eight members led by Le Thanh Hai, member and Deputy Head of the Office.

Other members are officials from the Ministry of Public Security's Economic Security Department, Vietnam Customs General Department's Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Market Surveillance Agency.

The special team will receive and process information on smuggling, trade fraud, and illegal goods trade at international airports. The team is also authorized to take charge and lead other units to investigate and solve air smuggling activities.