Thai Police uncover syndicate smuggle fuels from Malaysia

Thai Police uncover syndicate smuggle fuels from Malaysia

BANGKOK — Thai Police have uncovered a smuggling syndicate using pickup trucks with modified fuel tanks to transport hundreds of thousands litres of fuel from Malaysia to Thailand each month.

Thai assistant national police chief Pol Lt-Gen Surachate Hakparn said the syndicate known as “Jae Fang” uses pickup trucks and lorries with extra or modified fuel tank to deliver goods to Malaysia and then refill at petrol stations in Malaysia before returning to Thailand.

“The drivers will transfer the fuel from the modified vehicles to a storage facility at a warehouse in Hatyai, Songkhla which is about 30 kilometres from the Thailand-Malaysia border.

“Initial investigations found a modified fuel tank can carry about 1,000 litres of fuel per trip. There are a number of pickup trucks making an average of 10 trips per day.

The syndicate would transport hundreds of thousands of litres of fuel every month,” he said.

He added the syndicate would resell the smuggled fuel to local fuel pumps, fishing boats and farmers.

Investigations found that syndicate members, comprising pickup trucks and lorry drivers will make an early start in the morning driving across the border to the nearest border town in Malaysia to “deliver goods” and later fill their vehicles. They return to the warehouse at the Thai border and unload the fuel and make more trips across the border.

Surachate said Thai Police seized 2,000 litres of fuel and arrested two individuals at the warehouse in Hatyai recently.

He said the country lost more than 100 million baht per year in tax revenues due to fuel smuggling.

“Therefore, Thai Royal Police, along with relevant agencies such as the Excise Department, Customs Department, and Royal Thai Navy, will intensify enforcement efforts to dismantle fuel smuggling syndicates.

Huge difference in diesel and petrol prices between Thailand and Malaysia has long made Malaysian fuel a preferred target for smugglers seeking to profit by engaging in illegal trading, especially in the southern provinces of Thailand.

In Malaysia, a litre of diesel will cost RM2.15 while RON97 is RM3.35, RON95 (RM2.05).

In Thailand, a litre of diesel will cost 32.94 baht (RM 4.24) while gasohol 95 (36.85 baht or RM4.74) and gasohol 91 (36.58 baht or RM4.71). –Bernama

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