Chinese tourists caught illegally sourcing coconuts in southern Vietnam

Two Chinese nationals who entered the southern Vietnamese province of Tien Giang on tourist visas were found purchasing large quantities of coconuts from local traders for export back to their home country.

The province’s economic police said on April 20 that they were working with the local immigration office to determine punitive action for the foreigners for conducting business without a license and breaching the conditions of their travel visas.

Liu Jin Liang and Xu Qiao Jie were caught by Tien Giang authorities on April 19, when they were buying coconuts in Vinh Kim, a fruit wholesale market in Chau Thanh District.

The passport of Liu Jin Liang is seen in this photo taken in Tien Giang Province, located in southern Vietnam, on April 20, 2016.

The Chinese nationals also hired 25 locals to peel the coconuts, store them in cardboard boxes, and load them onto trucks bound for China. The cardboard boxes were stuck with Chinese and English labels.

When asked to present their business license, the foreigners only presented officials with tourist papers, according to officers.

Vendors at Vinh Kim Market said the Chinese had offered to buy coconuts at abnormally high prices.

While the fruit currently fetches at most VND80,000 (US$3.57) a dozen, the Chinese pair was willing to pay VND118,000 (US$5.27), according to vendors.

Tien Giang police said they are investigating if the Chinese were conducting their business independently or if they were working for a company.

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