Several Chinese companies engage in unscrupulous practices in Bangladesh, including in the construction industry and in the printing of false documents, as well as in the trade in 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 trying to export banned items to Bangladesh, reported Bangladesh Live News.
HUBCoL reportedly said it sends a shipment of Soda Ash Light to one of its Dhaka-based associates. However, during a physical examination, authorities in Bangladesh recovered 19 tonnes (788 packets) of sodium cyclamate (SC), concealed under the Soda Ash Light label.
The shipment originated from the CNTAO port of Qingdao, China, and arrived in Chittagong. SC is basically a type of condensed sugar, which is 30-50 times sweeter than regular sugar. The government of Bangladesh has declared SC an illegal and prohibited item. Therefore, the export/import, production or use of SC in any form is a punishable offense in the country.
Consumption of SC increases the risk of contracting cancer. In order to dodge Bangladeshi authorities, HUBCoL had provided a false statement, Bangladesh Live News reported.
In another case of corruption of Chinese officials in Bangladesh, it is reported that an official of the China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), who worked as a sand embankment contractor at Sabrang Tourism Park, Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar, was penalized BD Taka 2.5 lakhs and sentenced on June 4 to three months in prison by the Bangladeshi authorities for illegal sale of sand intended for landfill works.
Notably, these are not the first cases of illegal activities by Chinese companies and officials in Bangladesh. Earlier in December 2021, authorities discovered that China Road & Bridge Construction (CRBC), engaged in the construction of roads and bridges in Bangladesh, was involved in tax evasion while importing building materials. for government projects, Bangladesh Live News reported.
In January 2022, a Chinese Digi Anti Fake Company allegedly supplied counterfeit bandrolls (a thin ribbon wrapped around bidis and cigarette packs) 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, allegedly engaged in tax evasion and fraud in the amount of approximately BD Taka 21 crore.
The above instances of malfeasance warrant an unbiased examination of the operation of Chinese companies in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi authorities need to strengthen and enforce their corporate legal framework to prevent such cases.
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