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Chinese companies in Bangladesh indulge in illegal activities


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Several Chinese firms are indulging in unscrupulous practices in Bangladesh, especially in the construction sector and printing of counterfeit documents, as well as in the trade of prohibited items.

In May this year, a case was reported against a Chinese company namely Hangzhou Union Biotechnology Co Ltd (HUBCoL) – which is mainly engaged in food additives and pharmaceutical materials for attempting to export prohibited items to Bangladesh, reported Bangladesh Live News.

HUBCoL had supposedly declared to send a consignment of Soda Ash Light to one of its Dhaka based associates. However, on physical examination, Bangladesh authorities recovered 19 tonnes (788 packets) of Sodium Cyclamate (SC), concealed under the label of Soda Ash Light

The consignment had originated from CNTAO Qingdao Port, China and arrived in Chittagong. SC is basically one type of condensed sugar, which is 30 to 50 times sweeter than the ordinary one. The Bangladesh Government has declared SC an illegal and prohibited item. Hence, the export/import, production or use of SC in any form, is a punishable offence in the country.

The consumption of SC increases the risk of contracting cancer. In order to dodge Bangladesh authorities, HUBCoL had furnished a false declaration, reported Bangladesh Live News.

In yet another case of corruption by Chinese officials in Bangladesh, it is being reported that an official of China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), which has been working as a sand-filling contractor at Sabrang Tourism Park, Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar, was penalized BD Taka 2.5 lakhs and sentenced on June 4 to three months imprisonment by Bangladeshi authorities for illegally selling-off sand meant for filling work.

Notably, these are not the first cases of illegal activities of Chinese companies and officials in Bangladesh. Earlier in December 2021, the authorities had found that China Road & Bridge Construction (CRBC) company, engaged in the construction of roads and bridges in Bangladesh, was involved in tax evasion while importing construction material for government projects, reported Bangladesh Live News.

In January 2022, a Chinese company Digi Anti Fake Company had reportedly supplied counterfeit bandrolls (a thin ribbon wrapped on bidi and cigarette packets) resulting in fraudulent tax evasion of BD Taka 250 crore for Bangladesh.

In another case of tax evasion, Tianye Outdoor (BD) Co Ltd (TOCL), a subsidiary of Chinese company Comefly Outdoor Co Ltd had allegedly indulged in tax evasion and fraud to the tune of about BD Taka 21 crore.

The above instances of malpractices warrant an unbiased review of the functioning of Chinese companies in Bangladesh. Bangladesh authorities need to strengthen and enforce their corporate legal framework to prevent such cases. 

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