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Viet Nam sees a significant rise in the number and value of cash seizures at the border

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 7 October 2014
- Transnational and organized crime generates billions of US dollars annually. The profit from crime moves globally through financial institutions, through the internet, by way of alternative or informal money remitters, arts and antiques and by trade based money laundering. Also popular amongst criminals is the smuggling of currency across borders.

In 2012 the number of cases of smuggled cash being seized by Vietnamese Customs averaged one each month with a total value of almost $80k. This rose to 18 seizures in 2013 with a total value in excess of $100k.

Following continued support by UNODC's Global Program against Money Laundering in providing training in cash smuggling detections and cross border controls the number and value of cash seized at border crossings has risen sharply. In the month of August 2014 alone there were 7 seizures with a total value of $178k. Perhaps the largest seizure though took place Tay Ninh Provence on the border with Cambodia in the first week of September when $860k (82 billion VND) was seized as a cash smuggler attempted to cross over into Cambodia.

The common denominator in these statistics is that in almost every case in particular the Tay Ninh seizure the Customs Officers involved had attended the UNODC/GPML bulk cash smuggling training, the most recent taking place in August 2014 in Lao Cai and Ha Long City close to the border with China, Hue in the central highland area and Can Tho close to the southern Vietnamese border with Cambodia.

In all, UNODC has delivered 13 training events over the last 2 years ranging from the comprehensive 4 day course to 1 day refresher/awareness raising courses. Customs Officials from three international airports, one sea port and several land border crossings have received training. UNODC's collaboration with Vietnamese Customs is set to continue into 2015 with funding support from Germany. Further capacity building will be delivered in the area of Money Laundering and forensic and DNA handling relating to wildlife in particular rhino horn and elephant ivory. Vietnamese Customs have seen a rise in the number of seizures of rhino horn and ivory over the last 12 months and the additional support by UNODC will help investigators to widen their investigations to look beyond the courier or smuggler.