With pork prices rising relentlessly, pigs are being smuggled over the border from neighbouring countries into Vietnam.
|Border guards in An Giang Province prevent pig smuggling from Cambodia.|
— VNS File Photo
The meat now sells for around VND100,000 (US$4) per kilogramme.
According to the An Giang Province Border Guard, in the first five months of this year it has helped prevent six cases of pig smuggling and seized more than six tonnes of smuggled pork.
A spokesman said the incidence of smuggling has increased recently.
He said smugglers bring pigs to the Tien and Hau rivers from neighbouring countries and use small boats to fetch them to local markets at night under the cover of darkness.
If authorities find and pursue them, the smugglers flee, leaving all their belongings behind, he said.
In the last three weeks of May, border guards in An Giang Province stopped three cases of smuggling and seized nearly 50 pigs weighing nearly three tonnes, he said.
At 2.30am on May 30, soldiers from the Phu Huu Border Guard Station in An Giang’s An Phu District found a man in a small boat in Canal No 5 in a local commune.
When challenged by the troops, the man jumped into the canal and swam away into Cambodia, leaving behind the junk and 12 pigs.
Authorities in other border provinces like Long An and Dong Thap have also recently stopped pig smuggling from Cambodia.
On March 14, environmental police officers from the Ministry of Public Security came across smugglers in Long An Province’s Vinh Hung District and seized more than 100 pigs weighing more than 10 tonnes.
They had found the pigs some five kilometres inside the border in lorries. Their drivers said they had been hired over phone to transport the pigs and did not know who their owners were.
Pigs smuggled to central markets
A source from the Lao Bao Border Guard Station in the central province of Quảng Trị revealed that on May 21 soldiers had spotted two smugglers bringing pigs in from Laos.
The smugglers escaped to Laos, leaving behind 14 pigs on a small boat.
It was the fifth time the soldiers had accosted smugglers and in all seized nearly 100 pigs worth hundreds of millions of dong.
According to relevant agencies in Quang Tri Province, the water level in the Se Pon River is now lower than normal, enabling smugglers to transport pigs from Savanakhet Province in Laos. Traders also buy the pigs in Thailand.
Once the animals arrive in Vietnam, they are loaded on lorries and transported to markets.
Pigs on the hoof sell for VND50,000-VND60,000 per kilogramme in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, but VND100,000 now in Vietnam, offering windfall profits to smugglers.
According to the People’s Committee of Huong Hoa District, since early May hundreds of pigs have been smuggled into Vietnam bypassing veterinary and quarantine requirements.
Authorities warned this posed a risk of spreading African swine fever and threatened food safety.
Since the last week of March, the Quang Tri Province administration has required authorities to prevent the smuggling of pigs across the border, but the situation has not improved. VNS.
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The General Department of Market Surveillance under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has requested its branches in some southern provinces strengthen inspection and control over the trading and transport of smuggled pigs.