Last night a friend from Hanoi commented this picture in my Facebook. Capture this scene in the street of Hanoi, near the Hoan Kiem Lake.
Here are some interesting facts she shared with me. Smokers can easily purchase illegal tobacco at such mobile shops along many streets in Ha Noi, including Hang Hanh, Hang Buom and Nguyen Sieu. A packet of cigarette is 10 times cheaper than Singapore. As a non-smoker i was surprised by the low-cost. As cigarettes are expensive and highly taxed by the government and laws are getting stricter every day.
In the above picture at Hanoi, contraband cigarettes are mostly 90% illegally imported. This mean zero tax for the vendors, allowing them to earn slightly more than usual. The weird part was non of the police was catching these cigarette vendors on the street. Police choose to focus their operation in the norther border of Vietnam where the main source of problem is coming from.
Despite the heavy crack down still flooding into the country. Various tobacco are sneaked in from China, Thailand and Cambodia. However i understand the main bulk of illegal tobacco came from Cambodia. People still do it despite the close watch of the police. I guess is a good money source but with nervous risks involved. Below is a picture of one of the crack down by the Vietnam’s police.
For your info, those who smuggle, trade or store less than 1,500 illegal cigarette packs will be fined up to VND100 million (US$5,200) and prosecuted if they are in possession of a larger quantity.
Don’t play play.