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Viet Nam Customs see rise in criminal cash seizures after UNODC training

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 18 October 2013
- Continuing cooperation between UNODC and Vietnamese Customs has resulted in an increase in criminal cash seizures at border crossings over the last 12 months, according to Vietnamese authorities.

Part of UNODC's Global Program against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (GPML), the collaboration centered on training exercises aimed at capacity building, and improving the response to cash smuggling and cross-border controls.

"The rise in criminal cash seizures is a testament to the cooperation between UNODC and Vietnamese authorities, and highlights the need for continued collaboration," said Mr. Chris Batt, GPML resident anti-money laundering advisor. "Doing so will assist Viet Nam in its efforts to meet international standards in combating money laundering. "

As part of the GMPL programme, Mr. Batt and UNODC Customs Cash Smuggling Expert Mr Bernie Crossey visited Vietnamese sea ports, international airports and land border crossings from An Giang on the southern border crossing with Cambodia to Lang Son on the northern border with China.  

They conducted workshops for over 140 Customs Officers on money laundering and recent changes in international standards. The workshops focused on cash smuggling and recent amendments to Vietnamese anti-money laundering laws. A series of simulated cash seizures designed to assist Customs in their efforts to identify cash couriers and confiscate the proceeds of crime were carried out throughout Viet Nam.

Participants were also introduced to best practices on handling cash suspected of being the proceeds of crime, so as to preserve forensic evidence crucial to establishing links with crimes or predicate offences.

The two-week exercise built on the success of similar work carried out by GPML in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City during 2012, as well Cambodia and Lao PDR.

In addition to technical assistance, GPML will also provide pocket guides to Customs Officers and Border Army personnel across Viet Nam as part of its programme. These guides will contain information on how to identify possible cash couriers and how to safely handle seized cash.