“Bird flu outbreak feared as chicken smugglers gear up”

QUANG NINH — Authorities at Quang Ninh Province have stepped up
efforts to catch chicken smugglers, following fears that more
chickens will be smuggled into Viet Nam via sea routes or with the
aid of fake safety labels during the next few months.

Chickens have largely been smuggled into Viet Nam via border gates.

In the northern province of Quang Ninh, which borders China, border
guards last month confiscated dozens of large cases filled with

Permanent member of the provincial anti-smuggling board, Nguyen Dang
Truong, said the problem became more serious in early March.

As smuggled chickens are usually birds that have been discarded in
their countries of origin, they are sold at a much lower price than
domestic chickens, earning smugglers a substantial profit.

The smugglers often hire porters to transport chicken coops via
rivers, streams or pathways into border areas. Porters then load the
chickens into vans or concealed spaces in coaches or boats.

Authorities said they have seized 35 cases since last month, of which
almost 31,000kg of chickens, 200,000 eggs and 33 calves were

The traders had neither certificates to verify the origin of the
chickens or veterinarian’s quarantine records.

Authorities have warned of the potential for new outbreaks of bird
flu, as border guards could only control a small number of smuggled

The provincial People’s Committee has held continuous meetings to
call for officials from the agriculture, veterinary and health care
sectors to instigate concrete action against the smuggling.

Authorities at the border gates of Ka Long in Mong Cai, Hoanh Mo in
Binh Lieu and Bac Phong Sinh in Hai Ha were asked to instruct locals
to not participate in the trading of smuggled goods or abet smugglers
in any way.

The province will devote more staff to fight smugglers, develop
facilities at border gates and set up more check-points along roads,
sea ports and stations to prevent smuggled chickens from being
brought to the country.

Local border soldiers, customs officers and market watch officials
will also adopt more drastic measures to control the problem,
authorities said. — VNS