Administrative building near Khorgos. Photo: Alexandru Panoiu

Massive fraud at Kazakh-Chinese border

Kazachstan’s customs authorities have seen many dollars gone missing due to structural fraud at the border with China. This is according to the Kazakh president, who has ordered a revamp of the border authorities to solve the problem.

President Kassim-Zjomart Tokajev has given an instruction for the revamp especially at the border with China, to end the “long-running chaos”. According to him, management there is a veritable mess, with transit vehicles evading inspections and not paying customs duties. This has all been under the control of some high-ranking people, and has led to billions of lost tax revenues.

Supplementing the treasury

The management of Kazakhstan’s customs control has a long history, especially at the China-Kazakhstan border where goods are handled on a daily basis. Due to the actions of some unscrupulous operators, the difference between Kazakh and Chinese customs statistics amounts to billions of dollars. However, the problem has been ignored for a while.

However, in a country that has just experienced riots and is awaiting a financial setback, rectifying the customs procedures can supplement the treasury funds and provide financial support for a series of follow-up reform measures. The country has not yet introduced specific rectification measures.


Kazakhstan is one of the main transit countries on the New Silk Road. Although the riots have subsided and freight traffic has returned to normal, a series of rectification measures at the border could mean more stringent inspections and longer waiting times. This could have an effect on rail freight as well.

Author: Huilin Shi

Huilin Shi is the editor of, our Chinese publication

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