The shipping company lied on its import documents and failed to obtain a license to ship the gaming machine to Cambodia.
Vietnamese customs officials thwarted an attempt to smuggle a 1.2-ton roulette machine that arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on Monday on its way to Cambodia.
The Ho Chi Minh City-based Phuong Dong Forwarding and Distributing Company declared the shipment as a new roulette machine worth VND400 million ($17,500) that was to be transported to Cambodia via the Moc Bai Border Gate in the southwestern province of Tay Ninh.
Suspecting the shipment to be illegal, officers inspected the consignment and found it to contain a dissembled second-hand machine. The company also failed to provide legal documents for the machine, according to police.
It is prohibited to import roulette machines into Vietnam, and companies require a license if they are simply transiting here and plan to ship them to another country. Customs forces said they had seized the shipment and were investigating further.
The roulette machine was found in several parts. Photo by H.Q.
According to Tan Son Nhat customs, more smugglers have been taking advantage of transit routes to Cambodia recently. In the past few months, authorities have stopped seven cases of smuggling and confiscated contraband worth nearly VND10 billion ($440,000).
Casinos located in Cambodia over the border from Tay Ninh draw vast numbers of Vietnamese gamblers every day because gambling is still restricted in Vietnam.
Last December, the Vietnamese government for the first time granted permission for Vietnamese citizens to gamble at two casinos, one on the southern island of Phu Quoc and the other in a northern economic zone near the Chinese border.