Shops on Pham Van Chieu Street in Go Vap District and on Truong Chinh Street in Tan Binh District, for instance, sell watches and sunglasses ostensibly made by brands like Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Dior, Rolex, and Omega for VND200,000 to VND300,000 each.
They even issue warranty cards to customers.
But the shop owners freely admit that the goods are from Guangzou in China and brought into Vietnam over the northern land border.
Nguyen Minh Tan, the owner of a shop selling sunglasses sellers, said he could earn bigger profits by flying to Guangzou and buying directly from their Chinese manufacturers at much lower prices.
According to the Steering Board for Combating Smuggling, Fraudulent Trading and Counterfeit Goods, this year authorities have discovered over 80,000 cases of frauds and fake goods, and fined violators VND7.4 trillion (nearly US$320 million).
Nguyen Van Can, head of the customs bureau, said criminal charges were pressed in 30 cases of smuggling, fraud and trading of fake goods, and fines of nearly VND116 billion were collected.
Better control of fake goods
The huge profits from fake goods mean smugglers and sellers of fake goods resist market management authorities.
A customs officer from the Ho Chi Minh City Market Management Division said fake goods sellers and smugglers watch the division’s office to spot the launch of inspections and warn shopkeepers to hide their smuggled and fake goods.
Two week ago smugglers in the central province of Nghe An shot and injured two soldiers when border guards confronted them when they were transporting heroin from Laos.
In the southern province of Binh Duong, cigarette traffickers rammed their car into police vehicles, injuring six officers who tried to apprehend them.
The Ho Chi Minh City Market Management Division said authorities have discovered and seized a dozen tonnes of smuggled goods including sunglasses, garments and foods carrying famous brand names such as Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Dior, Rolex, and Omega.
There were no invoices, receipts or documents for the goods, a spokesman for the division said.
Meanwhile, customs officers at the international airports in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang regularly find high-value goods like gold, cigars, cosmetics, foreign currencies, and wildlife products being smuggled into the country.
The sea routes to Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City are also used to bring in a lot of smuggled and fake goods, the division said.
Nguyen Van Bach, deputy chief of the division, said his officers collaborate with other agencies in the city to discover the tricks adopted by smugglers and fake goods manufacturers and sellers and to persuade the public to inform authorities about these crimes.