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China issues smuggling crackdown as large pangasius importer

China issues smuggling crackdown as large pangasius importer

BEIJING: China highest customs authority has spearheaded a nationwide operation against seafood smuggling this week resulting in eight smuggling rings involving numerous companies being “smashed”.

Among the casualties appears to be one of China’s largest pangasius importers who will face criminal charges after it was implicated in smuggling 41,000 metric tons of pangasius products worth CNY 690 million ($106m) into China from Vietnam.

According to industry sources not based in the country it’s possible the crackdown has resulted in smuggling routes into China from Vietnam being closed, which, in the run up to Chinese New Year, could prove disastrous for Chinese seafood importers which haven’t already taken delivery of product.

Undercurrent News was not able to verify with sources in Vietnam and China whether smuggling routes have been closed or not. Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, as well as seafood hubs Qingdao, Zhanjiang and Haikou. In all, officials inspected 37,000t of suspected smuggled seafood, initially valued at an estimated CNY 197m, according to the GAC. On Wednesday reporters from state broadcaster CCTV accompanied police and customs officials in an early morning raid at a shrimp processor in Hebei province. Officials were shown inspecting frozen shrimp including Argentine red shrimp and vannamei shrimp. The boss of the firm was then shown being apprehended in his underwear. According to reports, the company is suspected of smuggling CNY 300m worth of seafood into China.