Two shops in the border town of Mong Cai that catered to “Chinese customers only” have been busted for selling smuggled goods.
Thuong Truong Huu Nghi and Bach Hoa Sai Gon stores are under criminal investigation for “trading banned goods,” the Quang Ninh Province police said Wednesday.
According to town authorities, both were run by Chinese nationals and served only Chinese tourists visiting Vietnam on “zero dollar” tours.
During these tours, Chinese tourists stay at Chinese-run hotels, eat at Chinese restaurants, and shop at Chinese shopping outlets, and Chinese tour guides are used instead of local ones, leaving no benefits for Vietnam’s tourism businesses.
Earlier, raids at the shops discovered hundreds of smuggled Chinese items.
In Thuong Truong Huu Nghi, police found nearly 800 cartons of cigarettes with foreign labels and many smuggled handbags, wristwatches and perfume and wine bottles with Chinese labels.
Bach Hoa Sai Gon had over 330 cartons of cigarettes and nearly 140 wristwatches.
Authorities have shut them down and are raiding more stores with signs saying “Chinese customers only.”
A Quang Ninh tourism official said most of the shops, which underpin Chinese “zero dollar” scheme, are owned by Vietnamese on paper but in reality belong to Chinese owners.
They sell their products at several times the market prices and their revenues are split between themselves and associated travel agencies, meaning local businesses get nothing from the Chinese tourists.